25 Marvelous Toni Morrison Quotes

Lisbeth Inspiration, Mindset

Toni Morrison turned 85 today, so I thumbed through my collection of Morrison works and selected some of my favorite quotes the old-fashioned way, finding where I had underlined passages that moved me and filled me with wonder and gratitude for being alive at the same time as someone with such prodigious talent. She has shown us all what is possible with a pen and a sharp mind and a real respect for the reader, and, I, for one, will always be grateful. toni morrison books


  • “Winter in Ohio was especially rough if you had an appetite for color.” — “Beloved”
  • “Solitude, regret and fury would have broken her had she not erased those six years preceding the death of the world.” — “A Mercy”
  • “What I know is there is magic in learning.”“A Mercy”
  • “In the dust where my heart will remain each night and every day until you understand what I know and long to tell you: to be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.” — “A Mercy”
  • “That was what her parents had taught her and what she had promised them: To choose, they insisted, and not ever to be moved. Let no insult or slight knock her off her ground. Or, as her father was fond of misquoting, ‘Gather up your loins, daughter. You named Lillian Florence Jones after my mother. A tougher lady never lived. Find your talent and drive it.'” — “Home”


  • “Forget it, brother. Stay in the light.” — “Home”
  • “‘Misery don’t call ahead. That’s why you have to stay awake—otherwise it just walks on in your door … You good enough for Jesus. That’s all you need to know.” — “Home”
  • “Look to yourself. You free. Nothing and nobody is obliged to save you but you … Somewhere inside you is that free person I’m talking about. Locate her and let her do some good in the world.” — “Home”
  • “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.” — “Sula”
  • “Girl, I got my mind. And what goes on it. Which is to say, I got me.”“Sula”


  •  “It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.” — “Sula”
  • “Listen to me. 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.” — “God Help the Child”
  • “There is really nothing more to say—except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” — “The Bluest Eye”
  • “The best hiding place was love.”“The Bluest Eye”
  • “Even now spring for me is shot through with the remembered ache of switchings, and forsythia holds no cheer.” — “The Bluest Eye”


  • “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. In equating physical beauty with virtue, she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self-contempt by the heap.” – “The Bluest Eye”
  • “He could have been an active homosexual but lacked the courage.” — “The Bluest Eye”
  • “We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life.” — “The Bluest Eye”
  • “Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly …” — “The Bluest Eye”
  • “We are wrong, of course, but it doesn’t matter. It’s too late. At least on the edge of my town, among the garbage and the sunflowers of my town, it’s much, much, much too late.” — “The Bluest Eye”


  • “Racists always try to make you think they are the majority, but they never are. It’s always the minority against all of the poor, all of the women, or all of the blacks.” — “Toni Morrison: Conversations”
  • “You take your womb, and then after your children are born you just stretch it to include the house, then the neighborhood, then the town … ’til the whole world becomes part of that.” — “Toni Morrison: Conversations”
  • “I think we are too accustomed to women who don’t talk back or who use the weapons of the weak. Nagging. Poison. Gossip. Sneaking around instead of confrontation.” — “Toni Morrison: Conversations”
  • “I made another list of the things I wanted to do. There were only two things without which I couldn’t live: mother my children and write books. Then I cut out everything that didn’t have to do with those two things.” — “Toni Morrison: Conversations”
  • Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”“Toni Morrison: Conversations”


Lisbeth Inspiration, Mindset

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