Quotes About Life According to Toni Morrison

Celebrate Toni Morrison’s legacy with these powerful reflections on life and death.

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Life and death are entwined so deeply in many of Toni Morrison’s novels that they are often hard to differentiate. But their complexity, and the blurred lines that separate them, make up the core of Morrison’s work.

With Morrison’s passing, her thoughts and words on the passage of time are more poignant than ever.

Celebrate Morrison’s memory with these immemorial quotes, and be sure to check out our coverage of her passing here.


“In a way she was jealous of death.” 
Song of Solomon


“It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.” 


Via The Cheat Sheet


“She was fierce in the presence of death, heroic even, as she was at no other time. Its threat gave her direction, clarity, audacity.” 
― Song of Solomon


“You got a life? Live it! Live the motherfuckin’ life!” 
Song of Solomon


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


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


“I dream a dream that dreams back at me” 
A Mercy


Via The BBC


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


“But to find out the truth about how dreams die, one should never take the word of the dreamer.” 
The Bluest Eye


“Anything dead coming back to life hurts.” 
― Toni Morrison


“You already alone. If you want more alone, I can knock you into the middle of next week, and leave you there.” 
Song of Solomon


“Something that is loved is never lost.” 


“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.” 
Song of Solomon


“Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” 


Via LA Times


“A dream is just a nightmare with lipstick.” 
― Toni Morrison


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


“Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?” 
Song of Solomon




Featured Image Via The Ringer.