Toni Morrison: Bathed In Tradition Essay

2417 words - 10 pages

Toni Morrison: Bathed in TraditionIt is often said that people pursue the "Great American Dream," but what exactly is it? For some it is getting rich quick, inventing something incredible, or simply living a good life and raising a family. Many also believe that one of life's goals is to write the Great American novel. This is a difficult task, for one must be at the top of their craft, as well as be able to reach many people on different levels. One such author who has accomplished this feat is the African-American author Toni Morrison. Morrison holds a great deal of prestige in the writing community, as she is both the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature as well as the Pulitzer Prize, the top honor a writer may receive. She writes about race and other contemporary issues from a perspective that not many readers have been exposed to. Toni Morrison has found success in writing with tones of African-American history, folklore, and music. As novelist, critic, professor, editor, or mentor to other writers, Toni Morrison has had a profound impact upon the literature and culture of the twentieth century.Toni Morrison's life can be seen from a number of accomplishments and influences as more fulfilling than any master writer could want. One influence is her childhood's rich background in tradition and history. A second influence was her education at some of the best universities the country has to offer. Morrison's life justbefore writing her first novel gave her life experience which would prove invaluable. She had the opportunity to exercise influence over many black authors and helped make their works known. Also, her list of novels is impressive and well received. The awards she received for them are proof enough of her excellent work.Toni Morrison was born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931 in the poor, multi-racial town of Lorraine, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio (Sinclair 361). She was one of four children of Ramah Willis Wofford, a homemaker who sang in the church choir, and of George Wofford, who held a variety of jobs, including car washer, steel mill welder, and road construction and shipyard worker (Bolden 149). Morrison grew up with strong influences from both her parents and grandparents. She received a legacy of resistance to oppression and exploitation as well as African American folklore. Her grandparents emigrated from Alabama to Ohio in order to "escape rampant racial violence" (Sinclair 362). Likewise, her father escaped Georgia and settled in Ohio, but found that it was not much easier there. Morrison herself says,"The northern part of Ohio had underground railroad stations and a history of black people escaping into Canada, but the southern part of the state is as much Kentucky as there is, complete with cross burnings. Ohio is a curious juxtaposition of what is ideal in this country and what is base. It was also a Mecca for black people; they came to the mills and plants because Ohio offered the possibility of a good...

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