Critical Linking: Toni Morrison Edition

This post is part of our Toni Morrison Reading Day: a celebration of  one of our favorite authors on the occasion of her new novel, Home. Check out the rest right here.

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“But Chloe.” She grows expansive. “That’s a Greek name. People who call me Chloe are the people who know me best,” she says. “Chloe writes the books.” Toni Morrison does the tours, the interviews, the “legacy and all of that.” Which she does easily enough, but at a distance, a drama-club alumna embodying a persona—and knowing all the while that it isn’t really her. “I still can’t get to the Toni Morrison place yet.”

The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn’t exist.

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“Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life.”

From Morrison’s Nobel lecture.

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I have said “poetry.” But “The Bluest Eye” is also history, sociology, folklore, nightmare and music. It is one thing to state that we have institutionalized waste, that children suffocate under mountains of merchandised lies. It is another thing to demonstrate that waste, to re-create those children, to live and die by it. Miss Morrison’s angry sadness overwhelms.

In its first review of Morrison, The New York Times characterizes her work as having an “angry sadness.” I don’t think I have heard a better two-word description.

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“…this melancholy that I feel now is about a country like this with the best shot in the world, the best shot in the world, at this moment, at this time, with the certain kind of plenitude and intelligence and ambition and generosity and some history from which to learn, could indeed throw it away in a sense and become the worst parts of its own self.”

She is a great interview.

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This book is disgusting and gross and I really wish that the things in this book weren’t true. Though this book gives you a clear depiction of what being a slave looks like and what truly happens, it doesn’t make it any less depressing and just down right gross. This book will cause your stomach to feel pain and your heart to ache. The agony of this poor women’s life is horrible and I would only suggest reading this book if you truly want your heart and mind to hurt and if you want to be brought to tears.

Amazon reviews of Beloved show precisely why Morrison is so important.

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