Toni Morrison Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 326 quotes)
Kneeling in the keeping room where she usually went to talk-think it was clear why Baby Suggs was so starved for color. There was’t any except for two orange squares in a quilt that made the absence shout. The walls of the room were slate-colored, the floor earth-brown, the wooden dresser the color of itself, curtains white, and the dominating feature, the quilt over an iron cot, was made up of scraps of blue serge, black, brown and gray wool–the full range of the dark and the muted that thrift and modesty allowed. In that sober field, two patches of orange looked wild–like life in the raw.
Do they still call it infatuation? That magic ax that chops away the world in one blow, leaving only the couple standing there trembling? Whatever they call it, it leaps over anything, takes the biggest chair, the largest slice, rules the ground wherever it walks, from a mansion to a swamp, and its selfishness is its beauty.... People with no imagination feed it with sex -- the clown of love. They don't know the real kinds, the better kinds, where losses are cut and everybody benefits. It takes a certain intelligence to love like that -- softly, without props.
...a habit that had become one of those necessary things for the night... surely a body-friendly if not familiar-lying next to you. Someone whose touch is a reassurance, not an affront or a nuissance. Whose heavy breathing neither enrages nor discusts you, but amuses you like that of a cherished pet.
Paul D did not answer because she didn't expect or want him to, but he did know what she meant. Listening to the doves in Alfred, Georgia, and having neither the right nor the permission to enjoy it because in that place mist, doves, sunlight, copper dirt, moon - everything belonged to the men who had the guns. Little men, some of them, big men too, each one of whom he could snap like a twig if he wanted to. Men who knew that their manhood lay in their guns and were not even embarrassed by the knowledge that without fox would laugh at them. And these "men" who made even vixen laugh could, if you let them, stop you from hearing doves or loving moonlight. So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Glass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn't do. A woman, a child, a brother - a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. 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.
And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.
I didn't plan on either children or writing. Once I realized that writing satisfied me in some enormous way, I had to make adjustments. The writing was always marginal in terms of time when the children were small. But it was major in terms of my head. I always thought that women could do a lot of things. All the women I knew did nine or ten things at one time. I always understood that women worked, they went to church, they managed their houses, they managed somebody else's houses, they raised their children, they raised somebody else's children, they taught. I wouldn't say it's not hard, but why wouldn't it be? All important things are hard.
There in the dark her memory was refreshed, and she succumbed to her earlier dreams. 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. She forgot lust and simple caring for. She regarded love as possessive mating, and romance as the goal of the spirit. It would be for her a well-spring from which she would draw the most destructive emotions, deceiving the lover and seeking to imprison the beloved, curtailing freedom in every way." -- Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye