47 Toni Morrison Quotes That Will Inspire Your Life

“No matter how hard we try to ignore it, the mind always knows truth and wants clarity.”

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

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

“Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.”

“Don’t let anybody, anybody convince you this is the way the world is and therefore must be. It must be the way it ought to be.”

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

“If you take racism away from certain people – I mean vitriolic racism as well as the sort of social racist – if you take that away, they may have to face something really terrible – misery, self-misery, and deep pain about who they are.”

“You are your best thing”

“If you can’t imagine it, you can’t have it.”

“Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this.”

“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.”

“Everything depends on knowing how much,” she said, and “Good is knowing when to stop.”

“You don’t have to love me but you damn well have to respect me.”

“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.”

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

“In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent.”

“We never shape the world . . . the world shapes us.”

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

“Today is always here,’ said Sethe. ‘Tomorrow, never.”

“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”

“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.”

“Whatever happens, whether you get rich or stay poor, ruin your health or live to old age, you always end up back where you started: hungry for the one thing everybody loses — young loving.”

“If you surrender to the wind you can ride it.”

“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”

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

“Not knowing it was hard; knowing it was harder”

“You can do some rather extraordinary things if that’s what you really believe.”

“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.”

“I dream a dream that dreams back at me”

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

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

“If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”

“What’s the world for you if you can’t make it up the way you want it?”

“I get angry about things, then go on and work.”

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

“Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.”

“Don’t beg anybody for anything, especially love.”

“Some things you forget. Other things you never do.”

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

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

“I don’t want to make somebody else. I want to make myself.”

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

“Misery don’t call ahead. That’s why you have to stay awake – otherwise it just walks on in your door.”

“Definitions belonged to the definers — not the defined.”

“You are your best thing.”

“You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own.”

“If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have serious problem.”

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