Excerpt from "Paradise" (02:40)
Toni Morrison reads an excerpt from "Paradise," her seventh novel set in the '60s and '70s America, telling the story of a colony of traumatized women in conflict with a conservative religious town.
Defining Herself as an Author (04:40)
An interview with acclaimed author Toni Morrison reveals how she came to define herself as a writer and how the process of writing brings her not only coherence and relevance, but sadness and pain.
Creating Onomatopoeic Language (02:07)
When words do not exist to suit Toni Morrison, she creates her own language through onomatopoeia, evoking sound and rhythm of a memory to suggest the eroticism and longing that haunts her character.
Issues of Color and Race (03:14)
Morrison recalls an incident as a child when she was not allowed into a friend's house because she was black. She talks about growing up with the false security of the ostracized.
Black/White Relationships (02:46)
Morrison views the divide between blacks and whites as only being kept alive because it is useful to white people. Racism is fueled by the delusion that other races are less than worthy of life.
Racism Betrays Humanity (04:21)
Racism is not an inherent trait, it is taught by theologians and scientists throughout history. Morrison states that she would rather die than betray her humanity or be less than who she is.
Beyond Degradation (02:38)
Morrison states that the real victims of history are the people who are so far removed from their humanity that they can somehow justify their barbaric cruelty to others without shame.
Marginalizing Whites (03:03)
Morrison marginalizes whites in her writing to avoid black/white confrontational literature. She wants to feel free of the "white gaze" in her writing, to write for and about African-Americans.
Mainstream Public Acclaim (02:43)
Morrison feels proud to represent Americans, African-Americans, and all women in winning the Nobel Prize, but she remains acutely aware that no prize makes writing easier.
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