Yesterday, Toni Morrison, one of the greatest American novelists of all time, died. For countless readers, Morrison's words have moved, inspired, and challenged us. Here are 15 of Morrison's most beautiful quotes from her books, although her beautiful words are certainly more numerous to count.
1. From Song of Solomon:
"You want to fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."
2. From Beloved:
"Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
3. From 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, but the love of a free man is never safe. 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."
4. From Beloved:
"Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all."
5. From Sula:
"Lonely, ain't it?
Yes, but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else's. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain't that something? A secondhand lonely."
6. From Jazz:
"But the picking out, the choosing. Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind. My mind."
7. From Sula:
"Like any artist without an art form, she became dangerous."
8. From Beloved:
"There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship's, smooths and contains the rocker. It's an inside kind--wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one's own feet going seem to come from a far-off place."
9. From Song of Solomon:
"If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it."
10. From Sula:
"It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you."
11. From Jazz:
"Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweettooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder.
And I the eye of the storm."
12. From Beloved:
"He wants to put his story next to hers."
13. From The Bluest Eye:
"Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do."
14: From A Mercy:
"I dream a dream that dreams back at me"
15. From God Help the Child:
"You don't have to love me but you damn well have to respect me."