Toni Morrison


Quotations

  • ''All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), U.S. fiction writer and essayist. As quoted in Grace Notes, Epigram, section 1, by Rita Dove (1989).
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  • ''Women's rights is not only an abstraction, a cause; it is also a personal affair. It is not only about "us"; it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), African American fiction writer and essayist. As quoted in Ms. magazine, p. 42 (September 1979). From a May 1979 commencement address at Barnard College. Morrison was commenting on women's unkindness and unhelpfulness toward one another.
  • ''New York is the last true city.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931) U.S. (New York) novelist and essayist. As quoted in New York, p. 72 (December 21-28, 1992).
  • ''What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), African American novelist and essayist. As quoted in the New York Times Magazine, p. 74 (September 11, 1994).
  • ''I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, "You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it." And I said, "But, Daddy, no one's going to see it!" And he said, "Yeah, but I know it's there." So when I was working in kitchens, I did good work.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), African American author. As quoted in the New York Times Magazine, p. 73 (September 11, 1994). Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature, was recalling her days as a domestic worker.
  • ''Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth.''
    Toni Morrison (20th century), U.S. author. As quoted in Woman to Woman, by Julia Gilden and Mark Riedman (1994).
  • ''Bit by bit ... she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), African American novelist and essayist. Beloved, part 1 (1987). Of the heroine, Sethe, twenty-eight days after she had escaped from slavery.
  • ''...black women write differently from white women. This is the most marked difference of all those combinations of black and white, male and female. It's not so much that women write differently from men, but that black women write differently from white women. Black men don't write very differently from white men.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), African American novelist and essayist. Black Women Writers at Work, ch. 9, by Claudia Tate (1983).
  • ''In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), U.S. novelist, editor. Guardian (London, Jan. 29, 1992).
  • ''How soon country people forget. When they fall in love with a city it is forever, and it is like forever. As though there never was a time when they didn't love it. The minute they arrive at the train station or get off the ferry and glimpse the wide streets and the wasteful lamps lighting them, they know they are born for it. There, in a city, they are not so much new as themselves: their stronger, riskier selves.''
    Toni Morrison (b. 1931), U.S. novelist, editor. Jazz, ch. 2 (1991).

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