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Toni Morrison Essay example

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Toni Morrison


In the mid twentieth century, the Civil Rights Movement influenced African-American writers to express their opinions. Most African-American writers of the time discussed racism in America and social injustice. Some authors sought to teach how the institution of slavery affected those who lived through it and African-Americans who were living at the time. One of these writers was the Toni Morrison, the novelist, who intended to teach people about all aspects of African-American life present and past. In Beloved like all of her novels, Toni Morrison used vivid language, imagery, and realism to reveal the interior life of slavery and its vestiges which remained in African- American life.

Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18,1931 in Lorain, Ohio to George and Ramah Willis Wofford. She was the second of four children. Her parents influenced her writing because of their contrasting views. Her father had a very pessimistic view of hope for his people; however, her mother had a more positive belief that a person, with effort, could rise above African-Americans’ current surroundings (Carmean 1-2). Her parents also influenced her because they were “gifted storytellers who taught their children the value of family history and the vitality of language”(Carmean 2).
Toni Morrison graduated with honors from Lorain High School. She went to Howard University where she majored in English Literature. While at Howard, she changed her name from Chloe to Toni. Toni Morrison went to graduate school at Cornell University. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Howard and a Master’s degree from Cornell.

Toni Morrison met Harold Morrison, her husband, at Howard University where he was an architect student. Toni Morrison and Harold Morrison later divorced. Though they had two sons. Their first son was Harold Ford. Slade Morrison, their second son, helps Toni Morrison in her writing of children’s books.

Toni Morrison has held many jobs as a writer, teacher, and an editor. As a teacher, she taught general composition and literature classes at Howard University. Some of her students at Howard were Houston Baker and Claude Brown. At Yale University, Toni Morrison taught creative writing and African-American literature. As an editor, she worked as senior editor at Random House in New York City. She worked her way up to that position from...


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...using realism and vivid language. “ Morrison had cast a new perspectives on the nation’s past and even suggests- though makes no promise- that people of strength and courage may be able to achieve a somewhat less destructive future” (Bakerman 173).

Works Cited

Bakerman, Jane S. “Toni Morrison.” American Women Writers. Taryn Benbow-Pfalzgrat. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Detroit, MI: St. James Press, 2000.172-174.

Carmean, Karen. Toni Morrison’s World of Fiction. Troy, NY: Whitston Publishing Company, 1993. 81-100.

Johnson, Anne Janette. “Toni Morrison.” Black Contemporary Authors; A Selection from Contemporary Authors. Eds. Linda Metzger, et al. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, Inc., 1989.411-416.

Mobley, Marilyn Sanders. “ Toni Morrison.” The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Eds. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith, and Trudier Harris. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.508-510.

“Toni Morrison.” Literature Resource Center. Feb. 2004. Gale Group. 8 Apr. 2004. http://galenet.galegroup.com

Toni Morrison Uncensored. DVD. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2003.

“Works of Toni Morrison.” Big Chalk Library. Jan 1990. Big Chalk. 8 Apr. 2004.http://library.bigchalk.com


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