The Best Toni Morrison quotes

Toni Morrison quotes thumbnail

Toni Morrison is one of America’s most celebrated authors. She has written novels, essays, and song lyrics that explore the black experience in America. Morrison’s work is highly praised and often cited as some of the best contemporary literature. In 1993, she became the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her life story is just as fascinating as her writing. This blog post will explore everything from Morrison’s early childhood to her current career successes.

We are glad to present you the deepest Black, Feelings, Time, Writing, Life, World, Children, Language quotes from Toni Morrison, and much more.


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About Toni Morrison

birth of the author

February 18, 1931

death of the author

August 5, 2019

occupation of the author

Essayist, Children’s Writer, Professor

college of the author

Alma Mater:
Howard University, Cornell University

genre of the author

American Literature

award of the author

Notable Works:
The Bluest Eye And More.

award of the author

Notable Awards:
Presidential Medal Of Freedom, National Humanities Medal, Nobel Prize In Literature, Pulitzer Prize For Fiction


I have a lot of respect for readers because I’m a reader. That’s how I got into writing. — Toni Morrison

What’s interesting about writing is the invention, the creative thing. Writing about myself is a yawn. — Toni Morrison

The formula for creative writing in high school or college is write what you know. — Toni Morrison

Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it. — Toni Morrison

i have a lot of respect for readers because i m a reader that s how i got into writing Toni Morrison quote

I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can’t teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort. — Toni Morrison

Writing is really a way of thinking–not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet. — Toni Morrison

If writing is thinking and discovery and selection and order and meaning, it is also awe and reverence and mystery and magic. — Toni Morrison

Literature, it seems to me, is wisdom. — Toni Morrison


The past is interesting to me because it’s been dumbed down or flattened out, or academically nitpicked so you can’t get any life out of it, you just get data. — Toni Morrison

you got a life live it live the motherfuckin life Toni Morrison quote

You got a life? Live it! Live the motherfuckin life! — Toni Morrison

Your life is already artful–waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art. — Toni Morrison

Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boiled down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it? — Toni Morrison

Anything dead coming back to life hurts. — Toni Morrison

Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance. — Toni Morrison

your life is already artful waiting just waiting for you to make it art Toni Morrison quote

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

I’m interested in the way in which the past affects the present and I think that if we understand a good deal more about history, we automatically understand a great more about contemporary life. — Toni Morrison

The vitality of language lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, writers. — Toni Morrison

What did Toni Morrison write?

Among Toni Morrison’s best-known works are the novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved and the nonfiction volumes Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination and Remember


At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough. — Toni Morrison

A writer’s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity. — Toni Morrison

anything dead coming back to life hurts Toni Morrison quote

From my point of view, which is that of a storyteller, I see your life as something artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art. — Toni Morrison

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

From my point of view, your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny. — Toni Morrison

Birth, life, and death– each took place on the hidden side of a leaf. — Toni Morrison

He wants to put his story next to hers. — Toni Morrison

death is a sure thing but life is just as certain problem is you can t know in advance Toni Morrison quote


I want to feel what I feel. What’s mine. Even if it’s not happiness, whatever that means. Because you’re all you’ve got. — Toni Morrison

Would it be all right? Would it be all right to go ahead and feel? Go ahead and count on something? — Toni Morrison

Long before I was a success, my parents made me feel like I could be one. — Toni Morrison

Sometimes what I write on the page frightens me, so I feel free when I write, but I don’t feel safe. — Toni Morrison

You looking good.’ ‘Devil’s confusion. He lets me look good long as I feel bad. — Toni Morrison

long before i was a success my parents made me feel like i could be one Toni Morrison quote

Anger… it’s a paralyzing emotion… you can’t get anything done. — Toni Morrison

When a man angers you, he conquers you. — Toni Morrison


If we had no language we’d have nothing. — Toni Morrison

Maybe [I care about language] because I’m an editor, maybe because I’m picky, but it’s all we got, don’t shrink it. Don’t dumb it out, make it little. — Toni Morrison

Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. — Toni Morrison

if we had no language we d have nothing Toni Morrison quote

Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation. — Toni Morrison

Sexist language, racist language, theistic language–all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not, permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas. — Toni Morrison

We’re all surrounded by what I call faux language, fake language of commerce, of news media. — Toni Morrison

Language can never ‘pin down’ slavery, genocide, war. Nor should it yearn for the arrogance to be able to do so. Its force, its felicity, is in its reach toward the ineffable. — Toni Morrison

The theme you choose may change or simply elude you, but being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who are you and what you mean. — Toni Morrison


What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it? — Toni Morrison

Don’t let anybody, anybody convince you this is the way the world is and therefore must be. It must be the way it ought to be. — Toni Morrison

When am I happy and when am I sad and what is the difference? What do I need to know to stay alive? What is true in the world? — Toni Morrison

Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem. — Toni Morrison

We never shape the world . . . the world shapes us. — Toni Morrison

what s the world for you if you can t make it up the way you want it Toni Morrison quote

I thought the whole world was like Lorain. — Toni Morrison

The concept of physical beauty as a virtue is one of the dumbest, most pernicious and destructive ideas of the Western world, and we should have nothing to do with it. — Toni Morrison

Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It’s truly unbelievable. — Toni Morrison

My theory is that the world is a difficult place to live in and distraction is the name of the game. — Toni Morrison

Somewhere inside you is that free person I’m talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world. — Toni Morrison

we never shape the world the world shapes us Toni Morrison quote

In Ohio seasons are theatrical. Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it. — Toni Morrison

Redundant Thematics

In Toni Morrison Statements


I know what every colored woman in this country is doing… Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I’m going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world. — Toni Morrison

Why is Toni Morrison important?

Morrison was noted for her examination of the experiences of Black Americans, particularly Black women.

In an unjust society, her characters struggle to find themselves and their cultural identity.

Her use of fantasy, her sinuous poetic style, and her rich interweaving of the mythic gave her stories great strength and texture. .

The enemy is not men. The enemy is the concept of patriarchy, the concept of patriarchy as the way to run the world or do things. — Toni Morrison

Make up a story…For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. — Toni Morrison

Sunk in the grass of an empty lot on a spring Saturday, I split the stems of milkweed and thought about ants and peach pits and death and where the world went when I closed my eyes. — Toni Morrison

So this is what insanity is. Not goofy behavior, but watching a sudden change in the world you used to know. — Toni Morrison

You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. — Toni Morrison


What you do to children matters. And they might never forget. — Toni Morrison

Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth. — Toni Morrison

I don’t think one parent can raise a child. I don’t think two parents can raise a child. You really need the whole village. — Toni Morrison

what you do to children matters and they might never forget Toni Morrison quote

Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing. — Toni Morrison

The habit of getting up early, which I had formed when the children were young, now became my choice. I am not very bright or very witty or very inventive after the sun goes down. — Toni Morrison

You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone. — Toni Morrison

My first–born. All I can remember of her is how she loved the burned bottom of bread. Can you beat that? Eight children and that’s all I remember. — Toni Morrison

When a child walks in the room, your child or anybody else’s child, do your eyes light up? That’s what they’re looking for. — Toni Morrison

everywhere everywhere children are the scorned people of the earth Toni Morrison quote

You are about to find out what it takes, how the world is, how it works and how it changes when you are a parent. Good luck and God help the child. — Toni Morrison


The best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time. — Toni Morrison

For a long time now he knew that anything could appear to be something else, and probably was. — Toni Morrison

Obama is ] creative imagination which coupled with brilliance equals wisdom . . . [He is] the man for this time. — Toni Morrison

What awards did Toni Morrison win?

Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for the critically acclaimed novel Beloved . She received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
In 2010 Morrison was made an officer of the French Legion of Honour. Two years later she was awarded the U. S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

There in the center of that silence was not eternity but the death of time and a loneliness so profound the word itself had no meaning. — Toni Morrison

deep deep trouble can t rival the dead for love lose every time Toni Morrison quote

The language must be careful and must appear effortless. It must not sweat. It must suggest and be provocative at the same time. — Toni Morrison

Deep, deep trouble. Can’t rival the dead for love. Lose every time. — Toni Morrison

For a long time I was convinced that the conflict between Jewish people and black people in this country was a media event. — Toni Morrison

There is no time for despair, no place for self–pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. — Toni Morrison

I think one of the reasons I’m so thrilled with writing is because it is an act of reading for me at the same time, which is why my revisions are so sustained. — Toni Morrison

Schools must stop being holding pens to keep energetic young people off the job market and off the streets. We stretch puberty out a long, long time. — Toni Morrison

I feel like today we always glorify the young, just–plucked–from–college writer. But it’s much harder to start writing later, in middle age, struggling on a book around a full–time job and family. — Toni Morrison

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. — Toni Morrison


Anything I have ever learned of any consequence, I have learned from Black people. I have never been bored by any Black person, ever. — Toni Morrison

Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form. — Toni Morrison

my world did not shrink because i was a black female writer it just got bigger Toni Morrison quote

My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger. — Toni Morrison

A lot of black people believe that Jews in this country have become white. They behave like white people rather than Jewish people. — Toni Morrison

Black women have always been friends. I mean, if you didn’t have each other you had nothing. — Toni Morrison

Black women are the touchstone by which all that is human can be measured. — Toni Morrison

I’m always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else’s contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we’re demons. — Toni Morrison

There is an incredible amount of magic and feistiness in black men that nobody has been able to wipe out. But everybody has tried. — Toni Morrison

There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people. — Toni Morrison

Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city. — Toni Morrison

I don’t think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they’re black or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That’s what we’re upset about. — Toni Morrison

I wanted to separate color from race. Distinguishing color–light, black, in–between–as the marker for race is really an error. — Toni Morrison

Black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war. — Toni Morrison

My father saw two black men lynched on his street in Cartersville, as a child. And I think seeing two black businessmen–not vagrants–hanging from trees as a child was traumatic for him. — Toni Morrison

I merged those two words, black and feminist, because I was surrounded by black women who were very tough and and who always assumed they had to work and rear children and manage homes. — Toni Morrison

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