Top 112 Toni Morrison Quotes

She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.


Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.


if they put an iron circle around your neck I will bite it away


Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another–physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.


How exquisitely human was the wish for permanent happiness, and how thin human imagination became trying to achieve it.


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.


Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.


No gasp at a miracle that is truly miraculous because the magic lies in the fact that you knew it was there for you all along.


Was it hard? I hope she didn’t die hard.’Sethe shook her head. ‘Soft as cream. Being alive was the hard part.


It’s gonna hurt, now,” said Amy. “anything dead coming back to life hurts.


If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.


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


When I write, I don’t translate for white readers…. Dostoevski wrote for a Russian audience, but we’re able to read him. If I’m specific, and I don’t overexplain, then anyone can overhear me.


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


I don’t believe any real artists have ever been non-political. They may have been insensitive to this particular plight or insensitive to that, but they were political, because that’s what an artist is―a politician.


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


What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?


There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.


All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in., March 9, 1998]


All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.


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.


Birth, life, and death― each took place on the hidden side of a leaf.


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.


You have pissed your last in this house . . . and I don’t make velvet roses anymore.


Dominion won by fear and secured by fear was still sweeter than any that could be got another way.


She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.


We were two throats and one eye and we had no price.


Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love a free man is never safe.


As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.


But to find out the truth about how dreams die, one should never take the word of the dreamer.


You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.


Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.


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


In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.


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.


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


Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don’t mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network.


Black women were armed, black women were dangerous and the less money they had the deadlier the weapon they chose.


Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous.


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


For me, Art is the restoration of order. It may discuss all sort of terrible things, but there must be satisfaction at the end. A little bit of hunger, but also satisfaction.


I stood there a long while, staring at that tree. It looked so strongSo beautiful. Hurt right down the middleBut alive and well. Cee touched my shoulderLightly. Frank? Yes? Come on, brother. Let’s go home.


Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.


More it hurt more better it is. Can’t nothing heal without pain, you know.


Good for you. More it hurt more better it is. Can’t nothing heal without pain, you know.


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.


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.


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.


You are nothing but wilderness. No constraint. No mind.You shout the word—mind, mind, mind—over and over and then you laugh, saying as I live and breathe, a slave by choice.


The box had done what Sweet Home had not, what working like an ass and living like a dog had not: drove him crazy so he would not lose his mind.


I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, for the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people.


Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth.


He wondered if there was anyone in the world who liked him. Liked him for himself alone.


No matter what all your teeth and wet fingers anticipated, there was no accounting for the way that simple joy could shake you.


Grownups don’t pay it much attention because they can’t imagine anything more majestic to a child than their own selves and so confused dependance for reverence.


God take what He would,” she said. And He did, and He did, and He did and then gave her Halle who gave her freedom when it didn’t mean a thing.


Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live


Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you.


The human body is robust. It can gather strength when it’s in mortal danger.


You are my shaper and my world as well. It is done. No need to choose.


…he didn’t needs words or even want them because he knew how they could lie, could heat your blood and disappear.


Language, when it finally comes, has the vigor of a felon pardoned after twenty-one years on hold. Sudden, raw, stripped to its underwear.


In time the whole family perked up like Sesame Street puppets, hoping that cheer, if worked at hard enough, could sugar the living and quiet the dead.


Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside.


You know, the kind who know Jesus by His first name, but out of politeness never use it even to His face.


She learned the intricacy of loneliness: the horror of color, the roar of soundlessness and the menace of familiar objects lying still.


Not like the me was some tough somebody, or somebody she had put together for show. But like, like somebody she favored and could count on. A secret somebody you didn’t have to feel sorry for or have to fight for. -Felice


Daily life took as much as she had. The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn’t stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out.


To Sethe, the future was a matter of keeping the past at bay. The “better life” she believed she and Denver were living was simply not that other one.


God puzzled her and she was too ashamed of Him to say so.


She missed — without knowing what she missed– paints and crayons


We don’t need any more writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writer’s movement: assertive, militant, pugnacious.


It never occurred to us that the Earth itself might have been unyielding


The best hiding place was love. Thus the conversion from pristine sadism to fabricated hatred, to fraudulent love.


Hate does that. Burns off everything but itself, so whatever your grievance is, your face looks just like your enemy’s.


Nowadays silence is looked on as odd and most of my race has forgotten the beauty of meaning much by saying little. Now tongues work all day by themselves with no help from the mind.


Sleep without the fragrance of her hair next to him was impossible.


It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.


From the windows, through the fur of snow, the landscape became more melancholy when the sun successfully brightened the quiet trees, unable to speak without their leaves.


…maybe you think up North is way different from down South. Don’t believe it and don’t count on it. Custom is just as real as law and can be just as dangerous.


There is honey in this land sweeter than any I know of, and I have cut cane in places where the dirt itself tasted like sugar, so that’s saying a heap.


Now they will rest before shouldering the endless work they were created to do down here in paradise.


You got a life? Live it! Live the motherfuckin’ life!


Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed,” she said, “and broke my heartstrings too. There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks.


Nobody loves the head of a dandelion. Maybe because they are so many, strong, and soon.


Can’t nobody fly with all that shit. Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.


We tend to overlook goodness, but we must put goodness front and center in our lives.


I’ve traveled. All over. I’ve never seen anything like you. How could anything be put together like you? Do you know how beautiful you are? Have you looked at yourself?”I’m looking now.


There’s a difference between writing for a living and writing forlife. If you write for a living, you make enormous compromises….If you write for life, you’ll work hard; you’ll do what’s honest,not what pays


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


There was a hint of spring in her sole green eyes, something summery in her complexion, and a rich autumn ripeness in her walk.


People say to write about what you know. I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that, cos you don’t know anything. So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared, ever.


If I hadn’t trained Lula Ann properly she wouldn’t have known to always cross the street and avoid white boys.


I loved the geography part. Learning about that made me want to read.


Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.


They laughed too, even Rose Dear shook her head and smiled, and suddenly the world was right side up. Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears.


It had been the longest time since she had had a rib-scraping laugh. She had forgotten how deep and down it could be. So different from the miscellaneous giggles and smiles she had learned to be content with these past few years.


Violet learned then what she had forgotten until this moment: that laughter is serious. More complicated, more serious than tears.


All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allow


He licked his lips. ‘Well, if you want my opinion-‘‘I don’t, ‘ She said. ‘I have my own.


I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.


If you’re going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.


When fear rules, obedience is the only survival choice.


Wanna fly you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.


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


We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for all that.


She stopped then and turned her face toward him and the hateful wind.


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.


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.


The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.


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.


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



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