Toni Morrison Explained by Ron David


Toni Morrison was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She was also an American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Ron David has presented his thoughts on Morrison in his book, “Toni Morrison Explained”.

The book is a good overview although not a literary critique, or in depth look into her life. David’s approach is chatty, with a lot of talking about what she accomplished or failed to. He offers thoughts on the meaning of some of her best-known books: Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eyes, Sula, Tar Baby, Beloved, and more.

Morrison’s writings reflect her own views of the bible and its doctrines, as well as her use of music and myth to make her thoughts clearer and resonate. David offers a range of interpretations to Morrisons work and is well worth reading even if you have already read her works.

In a 1988 interview Morrison answered a question on feminism. She was asked why she didn’t identify her works as feminist in a 1998 interview. She replied: "In order to be as free as I possibly can, in my own imagination, I can't take positions that are closed. Everything I've ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it, to open doors, sometimes, not even closing the book – leaving the endings open for reinterpretation, re visitation, a little ambiguity." She went on to state that she thought it "off-putting to some readers, who may feel that I'm involved in writing some kind of feminist tract. I don't subscribe to patriarchy, and I don't think it should be substituted with matriarchy. I think it's a question of equitable access, and opening doors to all sorts of things."

The question on feminism is an example of the depth of thought Morrison brought to her writings and if all we had was the overview of David’s book on the subjects of her writings, we would have missed a lot.

Morrison is an intellectual force and Ron David’s book is very good in what it does, but alone it would be inadequate in understanding Toni Morrison.

See more about Toni Morrison in Literary Favorites Section click here


“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” 
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” 

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

 “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.” 

“She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.” 

Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.”