FOR ALL AGES

101+ Powerful Toni Morrison Quotes About Love And Life

Toni Morrison won the Nobel prize for literature.

One of the most prolific writers of her time and to date, Toni Morrison explored and wrote about Black identity in America through her many impactful books.

Both a visionary individual and a fabulously skilled author, Toni Morrison experienced a turbulent childhood. Her years growing up passed by, as she wished that she could read and relate to something about what she lived through.

She decided that, since such a book didn't exist, she'd have to write it. She worked hard to eventually write her debut book, 'The Bluest Eye'. Morrison won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize in Literature for her literary work, including the critically acclaimed novels, 'Beloved' and 'Song Of Solomon'. Apart from winning praise from critics worldwide, these works were also major commercial successes, giving Toni Morrison international acclaim. It is also a huge achievement that she was the first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize.

We believe that the best Toni Morrison book to start with is indeed her first ever novel, 'The Bluest Eye' which tells the story of a young African American girl named Pecola and her ordeal of being teased to the point of her wanting to change her appearance.

Toni Morrison is important as, simply put, her works are invaluable to the literary world and to the generations that have learned and benefited from her beautiful yet accurate depictions of the real life struggles of the African American community, and more specifically those of African American women. That is why we have put together this list of inspiring and important quotes by Toni Morrison! From her powerful assertion that, "freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another" to her famous claim that, "if there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it", there is so much to learn from these inspiring Toni Morrison quotes.

After you have read through these Toni Morrison quotes, do also check out our Alice Walker quotes and 'The Alchemist' quotes.

The Best Toni Morrison Quotes

Listed here are the most famous Toni Morrison book quotes on life.

1. "We live in the world... the whole world. Separating us, isolating us, that's always been their weapon. Isolation kills generations."

-Toni Morrison.

2. "If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

-Toni Morrison.

3. "Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

4. "My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger."

-Toni Morrison.

5. "If you can't imagine it, you can't have it."

-Toni Morrison.

6. "You are your best thing."

-Toni Morrison.

7. "Nothing could be counted on in a world, where even when you were a solution you were a problem."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

8. "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."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

9. "Evil is just sort of ultimately boring. The good thing is just complicated. It's more provocative to me and more stimulating to me."

-Toni Morrison.

10. "We never shape the world... the world shapes us."

-Toni Morrison.

11. "What's fair ain't necessarily right."

-Toni Morrison.

12. 100. "You got a life? Live it!"

-Toni Morrison.

13. "What you do to children matters. And they might never forget."

-Toni Morrison.

14. "You just can’t mishandle creatures and expect success."

Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

15. "Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man."

-Toni Morrison.

16. "Oppressive language does more than represent violence, it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge, it limits knowledge."

-Toni Morrison.

17. "I'm a believer in the power of knowledge and the ferocity of beauty, so from my point of view, your life is already artful - waiting, just waiting for you to make it art."

-Toni Morrison.

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

-Toni Morrison.

19. "If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it."

-Toni Morrison.

20. "I don’t think many people appreciate silence or realize that it is as close to music as you can get."

-Toni Morrison.

Inspirational Toni Morrison Quotes

Toni Morrison was known for her study of Black women's experiences.

Here are some of the finest Toni Morrison quotes from the legendary author, including some famous 'Song of Solomon' quotes.

21. "Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do."

-Toni Morrison.

22. "Correct what you can. Learn from what you can’t."

-Toni Morrison.

23. "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.

24. "When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

-Toni Morrison.

25. "Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation."

-Toni Morrison.

26. "The presence of evil was something to be first recognized, then dealt with, survived, outwitted, triumphed over."

-Toni Morrison.

27. "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?"

-Toni Morrison, 'Song of Solomon'.

28. "You can do some rather extraordinary things if that is what you really believe."

-Toni Morrison.

29. "Some things you forget. Other things you never do."

-Toni Morrison.

30. "I wanted to separate color from race."

-Toni Morrison.

31. "I get angry about things, then go on and work."

-Toni Morrison.

32. "The very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being."

-Toni Morrison.

33. "I’m not entangled in shaping my work according to other people’s views of how I should have done it."

-Toni Morrison.

34. "What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?"

-Toni Morrison.

35. "A good man is a good thing, but there is nothing in the world better than a good woman. She can be your mother, your wife, your girlfriend, your sister, or somebody you work next to. Don’t matter. You find one, stay there."

-Toni Morrison.

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

-Toni Morrison.

37. "I am in the position of judging people by the best they've ever done rather than the worst."

-Toni Morrison.

38. "When I went into the publishing industry, many women talked about the difficulty they had in persuading their families to let them go to college. They educated the boys, and the girls had to struggle."

-Toni Morrison.

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

-Toni Morrison.

40. "I think there's data, and then there's information that comes from data. And then there's knowledge that comes from information. And then, after knowledge, there is wisdom. I am interested in how to get from data to wisdom."

-Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' Quotes

Here are some 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison quotes including inspiring quotes about freeing yourself.

41. "It's good you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

42. "Everything depends on knowing how much - and good is knowing when to stop."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

43. "Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

44. "I been in territory ain’t got no name, never staying nowhere long. But when I got here and sat out there on the porch, waiting for you, well, I knew it wasn’t the place I was heading toward – it was you. We can make a life, girl. A life."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

45. "'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.'"

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

47. "Beloved, she my daughter. She mine. See. She come back to me of her own free will and I don’t have to explain a thing."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

48. "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, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

50. "Unless carefree, mother love was a killer."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

51. "It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too. Fire and brimstone all right, but hidden in lacy groves."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

52. "It was the right thing to do - but she had no right to do it."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

53. "Would it be all right? Would it be all right to go ahead and feel? Go ahead and count on something?"

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

54. "It's not about choosing somebody over her. It's about making space for somebody along with her."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

55. "Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it; that another stroke of time would do it at last."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

56. "It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

57. "No more running from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this Earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something, Paul D. Garner, it cost too much!"

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

58. "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, 'Beloved'.

59. "But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

Toni Morrison Quotes On Love

Toni Morrison was a hugely influential novelist.

Here are some powerful book quotes on love by Toni Morrison, including 'The Bluest Eye' quotes and 'Beloved' love quotes.

60. “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."

-Toni Morrison.

61. "Hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

62. "Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe."

-Toni Morrison, 'The Bluest Eye'.

63. "Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Jazz'.

65. "Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy, you are a fool. If you think it is natural, you are blind."

-Toni Morrison.

66. "I don't want to make somebody else. I want to make myself."

-Toni Morrison.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

68. "There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye."

-Toni Morrison, 'The Bluest Eye'.

69. "This word, love, is about all we have. With everything else going on, this is what makes us, what keeps us human."

-Toni Morrison.

70. "He wants to put his story next to hers."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison.

72. "Something that is loved is never lost."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

74. "Love is never any better than the lover."

-Toni Morrison, 'The Bluest Eye'.

75. "This is the it you have been looking for."

-Toni Morrison.

76. "I’ll take hate any day. But don’t give me love. I can’t take no more love, Lord. I can’t carry it... It’s too heavy."

-Toni Morrison.

77. "Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? "

-Toni Morrison.

78. "A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double."

-Toni Morrison.

79. "We will be judged by how well we love."

-Toni Morrison.

Fantastic Toni Morrison Quotes On Writing

Here are some remarkable Toni Morrison quotes on writing, writers and her work.

80. "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.

81. "I have a lot of respect for readers because I'm a reader. That is how I got into writing."

-Toni Morrison.

82. "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.

83. "I'm a writer in the world. I translate the confusion that I might feel, the dread that I know I feel, moving towards some other place, moving away from puny language, from all that dread into some other kind of language."

-Toni Morrison.

84. "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."

-Toni Morrison.

85. "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.

86. "Literature, it seems to me, is wisdom."

-Toni Morrison.

87. "What's interesting about writing is the invention, the creative thing. Writing about myself is a yawn."

-Toni Morrison.

88. "Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind."

-Toni Morrison.

89. "If we had no language we'd have nothing."

-Toni Morrison.

Toni Morrison Quotes On Death And Life

Here are a few special Toni Morrison quotes about identity and the matter of life and death.

90. "Anything dead coming back to life hurts."

-Toni Morrison.

91. "We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives."

-Toni Morrison.

92. "My home is such a powerfully imaginative place that the space is almost irrelevant. I think the house I live at on the Hudson is where I belong because it's the only place where I am that I never think about when I'm leaving."

-Toni Morrison.

93. "People who die bad don’t stay in the ground."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

94. "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.

95. "He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose - not to need permission for desire - well, now that was freedom."

-Toni Morrison, 'Beloved'.

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

-Toni Morrison, 'Sula'.

97. "My theory is that the world is a difficult place to live in and distraction is the name of the game."

-Toni Morrison.

98. "It's bliss when you give up all that stuff that separates you from other human beings. It's hard, but you break down all that stuff."

-Toni Morrison.

99. "Anger, it’s a paralyzing emotion. You can’t get anything done."

-Toni Morrison.

100. "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, 'Sula'.

101. "Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it."

-Toni Morrison, 'Paradise'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for powerful Toni Morrison quotes about love and life then why not take a look at our Alfred, Lord Tennyson quotes, or Alexander Pope quotes for more?

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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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