Tag Archives: Toni Morrison

The President Who Loved Literature

In a remarkable interview with “The New York Times,” Barack Obama spoke about the importance of literature in his life. The range of his reading and the sensitivity of his responses is astounding.

Posted in Bellow (Saul), Cixin (Liu), Diaz (Junot), Flynn (Gillian), Goff (Lauren), Hemingway (Ernest), Jack Kerouac, Kerouac (Jack), Kingston (Maxine Hong), Lahiri (Jhumpa), Lee (Harper), Lessing (Doris), Mailer (Norman), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), Naipaul (V.S.), Robinson (Marilynne), Roth (Philip K.), Shakespeare (William), Whitehead (Colson) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morrison: Where America Went Wrong

Toni Morrison’s 2008 novel “A Mercy” seems to start with a promising vision of America before everything goes wrong. It’s as though she starts with the optimism of the Obama years and then predicts the Trump backlash.

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Toni Morrison: White Panic Led to Trump

As Toni Morrison sees it, William Faulkner’s observations about white panic go a long way toward explaining Trump’s victory.

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Toni Morrison Explains Hillary Hatred

The rage against Hillary Clinton is probably the result of primal male fears. Toni Morrison captures such male fear and rage in her novel “Paradise.”

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Toni Morrison’s Caution about Black Anger

The killer of the Dallas policemen is not unlike Guitar in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.” Through Guitar, Morrison shows how black anger is corrupted by violence. She also shows, through the novel’s protagonist (Milkman), how black resolve is stronger than anger and can soar above the earth.

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Let Our Teachers Teach

Monday When I wrote last week about a Virginia legislator attacking teachers for assigning Toni Morrison’s Beloved, I didn’t realize that there was a mother in an adjoining county also going after the book. And unlike the Virginia legislator she gives reasons. Here’s from The Post’s article about Laura Murphy, a Fairfax County mother whose son […]

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A Virginia Legislator Attacks Beloved

A Virginia representative has attacked the teaching of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” calling the novel “moral sewage.” Given the man’s views on spousal rape and abortion, i think I know what scene in the book set him off.

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Mixed Feelings after Winning a Drawing

Following an unpleasant sales pitch, we opened up our envelope and discovered that we had won… Well, read the post to find out. I felt like Reba in Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.”

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Children Lit’s Changing Racial Landscape

My mixed race granddaughters have children’s books with protagonists of color. It’s a far cry from the Dick-Jane-and-Sally books of my childhood and of the reality described by Toni Morrison’s “Bluest Eye.”

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Obama’s Eulogy & Beloved’s Baby Suggs

Commentator Melissa Harris-Perry quoted from “Beloved” following Obama’s Charleston eulogy. The passage she chose helps explain the power of the speech.

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Obama Tells Black Graduates to Soar

Michelle Obama used images of flight in a recent commencement speech at Tuskegee University. It was reminiscent of the way Toni Morrison uses flight in “Song of Solomon.”

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In Praise of the Liberal Arts

NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof recently sang the praises of the liberal arts and talked about the vital importance of literature.

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Top Post of 2014: Black Lives Matter

I repost a Toni Morrison essay on the importance of black men asserting their worth.

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Toni Morrison: Stand Up & Breathe

“I can’t breathe” has become a rallying cry for Black protesters. Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” shows powerfully what it feels like to breathe again.

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Literature as an Ethics Laboratory

Literature helps us explore what it means to be an ethical being.

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“Everybody Wants a Black Man’s Life”

Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” offers a vision of hope for targeted black teens.

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Discovering the Bad Girl Within

My student’s project on literary bad girls looks at “Jane Eyre,” Toni Morrison’s “Sula,” and Margaret Atwood’s “Alias Grace.”

Posted in Atwood (Margaret), Bronte (Charlotte), Morrison (Toni), Stevenson (Robert Louis) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morrison Helps Young Black Men Stand Tall

The story of how Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” inspired one of my African American students.

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Love, a Bulwark against Desolation

Toni Morrison expands St. Paul’s vision of love to include erotic love.

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Leaping Off the Fiscal Cliff…and Flying

Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” has advice for Obama in the fiscal cliff confrontation: Leap!

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An Austen Romance for Dems and GOP?

It proved easy to apply the election to Toni Morrison and Jane Austen in my classes.

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Morrison’s Novel Shaped the President

“Song of Solomon,” one of Obama’s favorite books, yield important insights into him and his African American supporters.

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Obama as a Toni Morrison Character

Perhaps some of the conservative antipathy to Obama is because he is seen as just taking over when he promised to work for social justice.

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Schools Cowed by the Religious Right

Holly Blumner had a vision. A member of the St. Mary’s theater department, Holly wanted to stage Susan Zeder’s Mother Hicks, a adolescent girl’s identity quest, and then take it into area schools. This post is the story about how rightwing groups have so terrified our schools that the vision died.

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Shadow Projections on the President

A couple of months ago I wondered on this blog whether some of the vitriolic attacks on Obama (as distinguished from reasoned disagreement) were driven by racism, and now I see that others are wondering the same, including Maureen Dowd and Jimmy Carter.  But a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish has a more […]

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Is Father-Son Conflict Inevitable?

I had an interesting conversation with my two sons yesterday as we drove them and my daughter-in-law to the Portland airport, marking the beginning of the end of our summer vacation.  The conversation began with me wondering why there weren’t works of literature that accurately capture the kind of father-son relationship that I feel that […]

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The Favorite Books of American Presidents

I’ve had fun discussing the reading of Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas over the last couple of days, and while I’ve come up dry on further posts about the Supreme Court and literature, it has given me the idea of periodically dipping into reading stories of other political figures. I’ll start a list here, beginning […]

Posted in Alexander (Elizabeth), Angelou (Maya), Bible, Camus (Albert), Carle (Eric), Dickey (James), Fleming (Ian), Frost (Robert), Marquez (Gabriel Garcia), Morrison (Toni), O'Neill (Joseph), Robinson (Edward Arlington), Service (Robert), Sheridan (Richard), Stendahl, Tolstoy (Leo), Twain (Mark) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

What Personal Reading Histories Tell Us

I can’t recommend enough the value of writing your reading history. It will reveal to you sides of yourself you didn’t know you had.

Posted in Angelou (Maya), Blume (Judy), Clifton (Lucille), Dr. Seuss, Morrison (Toni), Silverstein (Shel), Waber (Bernard), Walker (Alice) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Empowering Conversations about Race

As I look back over this past week of entries, what conclusions can I draw? First, that literature can serve the cause of race relations in this country. The friendship between Huck and Jim spurred my dreams of black-white friendship when I was a child being raised in segregated schools in the south, and it […]

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When I Defended Song of Solomon

I think it was 13 years ago or so when I read in our county newspaper that a high school student was objecting to a book he had been assigned to read in an Advanced Placement English class. The book was Toni’s Morrison’s Pulitzer-winning Song of Solomon, a book on the Advanced Placement list, and […]

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