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Image / Editorial

20 of the most beautiful and memorable Toni Morrison quotes


by Edaein OConnell
06th Aug 2019
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In memory of the acclaimed author, we take a look at 20 of the most memorable Toni Morrison quotes.


American author and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. According to her publisher, she died on Monday night at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Her works focused on the life of African-Americans, from their history to their modern lives. She wrote often of the difficult circumstances of human life in a poetic tone which was both powerful and richly expressive. Her debut novel, The Bluest Eye, was released in 1970. She won the Pultizer Prize for fiction for her novel Beloved in 1988, which became a critical success and a bestseller, staying in the charts for 25 weeks. It was later adapted into a movie starring Oprah and Thandie Newton.

She was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and was only one of two American women to do so.  She is regarded as one of the most important writers of the 20th century and has left an indelible impact on the literary world.

In her memory, we are taking a look at some of her most beautiful and compelling quotes.

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Beloved

“Love is never any better than the lover. ” – The Bluest Eye

“You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.” – Song of Solomon

“In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.”- Toni Morrison 

“I don’t think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It’s perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.” – Conversations With Toni Morrison

“Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.” – The Nobel Lecture in Literature

“What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?” – Jazz

“She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, because it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?” – Song of Solomon

“If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it” – Toni Morrison

“As you enter positions of trust and power. Dream a little before you think”- Toni Morrison 

“It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.” – Sula

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.”- Toni Morrison 

“I dream a dream that dreams back at me”- A Mercy 

“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives- Toni Morrison

“You are your best thing”- Beloved

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the thing that weighs you down”- Toni Morrison

“You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn — by practice and careful contemplations — the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it.” – Paradise

“Anger … it’s a paralyzing emotion … you can’t get anything done. People sort of think it’s an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don’t think it’s any of that — it’s helpless … it’s absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers … and anger doesn’t provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever.”- Toni Morrison

“It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love … You can’t own a human being.” – Song of Solomon

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”- Beloved


Read more: Four thrilling summer reads to enjoy this July

Read more: #IMAGEReads: Night owl? These six books are worth staying up to read

Read more: 8 brilliant books by Irish female writers for your must-read lists

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