Friday, September 17, 2021

EUR INSIGHT/Toni Morrison – Unapologetic Black Brilliance

toni morrison

*A mention of America’s literary giants would be incomplete with the mention of one Miss Toni Morrison.

This daughter of a steel worker and a homemaker has rightfully earned her laurels for creating works centered on African American life when its erasure from culture was commonplace.

Her poetic and bittersweet writing has earned her a Nobel Prize for Literature, a Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Truly, she is our Black intellectual.

To understand Toni Morrison’s significance, one needs to understand her work’s specialness. Her writing not only captures the pain and anguish of the countless nameless souls that were snatched away from their home and treated with cruelty but also shows their complexity, their unique link to their heritage and most importantly their humanity. Through her books, Toni Morrison reinforces black people’s place in America history and society.

In the foreword of her book Beloved, Morrison wrote “I wanted the reader to be kidnapped, thrown ruthlessly into an alien environment as the first step into a shared experience with the book’s population.” Morrison understands that the role of her writing isn’t just confrontational. It serves a higher purpose. It reconstructs dark chapters of America’s past so that roads leading into empathy and light can be built.

Stories were always part of Toni Morrison’s life – first as a child when her mother told her traditional folktales and singing songs and then later when she took up an editing position at Random House. As an editor, she championed the works of black authors and stories – a move that foreshadowed her own foray into writing. In her own work, she crafts terminology indigenous to her imagination like Thick Love and Thin Love that serve to illustrate the difficult choices made by her ancestors and the struggle to retain their humanity.

Toni Morrison’s stories are personal stories. Not personal in the sense that they are recollections of her life experiences but in the sense that they are informed by her own relationship to stories and her wish to make

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