Collected Book Quotes: Tar Baby

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People don’t mix races; they abandon them or pick them.”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“It was a silly age, twenty-five; too old for teenaged dreaming, too young for settling down. Every corner was a possibility and a dead end. Work? At what? Marriage? Work and marriage? Where? Who? What can I do with this degree?”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“The unending problem of growing old was not how he changed, but how things did. A condition bearable only so long as there were others like him to share that knowledge”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“I wonder if the person he wants to marry is me or a black girl? And if it isn’t me he wants, but any black girl who looks like me, talks and acts like me, what will happen when he finds out that I hate ear hoops, that I don’t have to straighten my hair, that Mingus puts me to sleep, that sometimes I want to get out of my skin and be only the person inside-not American-not black-just me?”
— Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, p . 48


“[Sometimes] the help is worst than the problem.”
— Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, p. 18


“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, pain or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don’t need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens, that letting go, you let go because you can. The world will always be there, while you sleep it will be there, when you wake it will be there as well. So you can sleep and there is reason to wake.”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“He did not always know who he was, but he always knew what he was like.”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“Like an Indian seeing his profile diminished on a five-cent piece, he saw the things he imagined to be his, including his own reflection, mocked. Appropriated, marketed and trivialized into decor.”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“The man […] stood before the mirror looking at his hair. It spread like layer upon layer of wings from his head […]. It made him doubt that hair was in fact dead cells. Black people’s hair, in any case, was definitely alive. Left alone and untended it was like foliage and from a distance it looked nothing less than the crown of a deciduous tree.”
— “Tar Baby.” Toni Morrison


“You can’t spoil a child. Love and good food never spoiled nobody.”
— Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, p. 35


“Don’t push me into my last and final hour. Let me saunter toward it.”
— Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, p. 31


“It’s not a matter of changing it [your mind]. It’s a matter of using it.”
— Toni Morrison, Tar Baby, p. 28

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