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Used With Permission of Encyclopaedia Brittanica

-Born Cloe Anthony Wofford on Feb. 19, 1931

-Grew up in Lorain, Ohio

-Graduated Lorain High School with High Honors

-Received Bachelor of Arts in English from Howard University

-Changed her name to Toni

-Taught at Texas Southern University in 1955

-In 1956 began teaching at Howard University

-Married Harold Morrison, Jamaican architect, in 1957

-Had two children, Harold Ford and Slade Kevin

-Divorced Harold Morrison in 1960

-Began writing career with book The Bluest Eye in 1960

-Appointed to National Council on the Arts by President Carter in 1977

-Won Pulitzer prize for her novel Beloved

-Became Robert F. Goldstein Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, becoming the first black woman to hold a chair at an Ivy League School.


 
     Toni Morrison's greatest accomplishments were her novels.  These novels were critically acclaimed for "her insightful portrayal of the African American lifestyle as well as her superb narrative voice ("Toni Morrison" A&E Biography.com) 

Among her famous novels are:
 

The Bluest Eye
Published in 1960

Plot Summary
The Bluest Eye tells the story of Pecola, a poor black child living in Lorain, Ohio in the 1940’s. Her parents, Cholly and Pauline, both had rough childhoods and fight constantly.  Considered by all the girls in her school as ugly, Pecola dreams of having blue eyes and being popular.   Obsessed with imitating whites, her mother scorns her daughter for her blackness.  Cholly rapes and impregnates Pecola, whom the community exiles.  Then, Pecola’s child dies in childbirth, and Pecola goes insane, imagining an invisible companion and believing she has the bluest eyes in the world. ("Plot Summary of The Bluest Eye in Bloom, ed. 13-15).

More Information

Sula
Published in 1973
Nominated for National Book Award

More Information

Song of Solomon
Published in 1977

More Information

Tar Baby
Published in 1981

Plot Summary
Tar Baby describes the life of Son, a fugitive who jumps ship in the Caribbean and lands on the Isle de Chevaliers.  There, he hides out in the house of the wealthy white Philadelphian couple, Margaret and Valerian Street.  When they discover him, they decide to keep him on as a servant, a decision very unpopular with Ondine and Sydney, the house servants.  While there, he falls in love with the servants visiting niece, Jadine, an international model.  They decided to runaway to New York, but Jadine changes her mind when they reach Florida.  They return to the Isle and Jadine decides to move to Europe to marry her French fiancé (Samuels 79-80). 

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Beloved
Published in 1987
Winner of Pulitzer Prize

Plot Summary
Beloved  tells  the story of Sethe, a slave on a plantation called “Sweet Home” before the Civil War.  Schoolteacher, Sethe’s new master, cruelly treats Sethe so she attempts to run away to Ohio with her daughter Beloved and her two sons. On the journey, she has another child, whom she names Denver, after a white woman who shows her kindness.  When she gets to Ohio, slave catchers find her, and before they can try to take her back into slavery she slits Beloved’s throat and attempts to kill her other children.  Sethe manages to obtain release from murder charges and lives with her former husband’s mother, Baby Suggs, in Ohio.  Beloved comes back as a ghost and haunts Sethe and Denver for the next seventeen years.   Sethe then meets and lives with a man named Paul D whom also has suffered at Sweet Home.  Finally, all of a sudden Beloved’s ghost stops tormenting Sethe, and she and Paul manage to forget her ("Plot Summary of Beloved in Bloom, ed. 82-87). 

More Information



  Anniina's Toni Morrison Page

  Nobel E-Museum; Toni Morrison
 

"Animation Factory" May 30, 2002 <http://www.animationfactory.com>.

Jokinen, Anniina.  "Anniina's Toni Morrison Page" May 30, 2002 <http://www.luminarium.org/contemporary/tonimorrison/toni.htm>.

"Morrison, Toni" Encyclopædia Britannica. May 30, 2002 <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=55183>. 

"Morrison, Toni" A&E Biography.com. May 30, 2002 <http://search.biography.com/print_record.pl?id=17827>. 

“Plot Summary of Beloved” in Toni Morrison.  Harold Bloom, ed. Broomhall, PA:  Chelsea 
     House Publishers, 2000.

“Plot Summary of The Bluest Eye” in Toni Morrison.  Harold Bloom, ed. Broomhall, PA: 
     Chelsea House Publishers, 2000.

Samuels, Wilfred D.  Toni Morrison.  New York: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

"Toni Morrison" Nobel E-Museum. May 30, 2002 <http://www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/1993/morrison-bio.html>. 



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Created By:
M.S. II, Sophomore,
Lansing Catholic
Central High School