Toni Morrison

By Anais Ocegueda

Life Brief

Toni Morrison was born on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio. Her actual name is Chloe Woffard. She had three other siblings and was the daughter of George and Ramah Woffard. Her parents moved to Ohio in an attempt to escape racism. She was born during the great depression which left her family poor. She had a full education growing up and graduated high school. Her nickname was Toni growing up because it was easier to say. She got married at the age of 27 and became Toni Morrison. She had two sons Harold and Slade Morrison. She soon divorced her husband and was a single mother. During this time she started to write as a hobby and it soon became her full time career.

Background Symbolism

I chose this background because her profession is a writer. These books represent the books she has written and her career. "Critics said that the very qualities that made Morrison's other novels so extraordinary" (Kramer 61).

Significant Facts

•Toni Morrison also wrote a play, Dreaming Emmett, that was a big hit just like her books.

•Some critics disagreed with her books and thought they were too political but she argued that this was the African-American culture. "Others thought [Tar Baby] was too political" (Kramer 61).

•As a child, she didn't even think of pursuing a career as a writer, she became an editor and took up writing as a hobby.


Toni wrote The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and many more top selling books. She also won the Pulitzer Prize and in 1993 Toni won the Nobel Prize. "[She had been selected to receive the worlds highest honor for a writer.... Reporters had to wait until she was finished teaching her literature class" (Kramer 7). She also got a library dedicated to her at the University of Princeton which means you had to do an amazing accomplishment.


Toni Morrison grew up in a poor family. She divorced in her 20s and became a single mother of two children. After winning the Nobel Prize her house burned down and she was forced to live in her New York City. The fire started while she and her kids were in the house. "A Christmas Day fire destroyed her home along the Hudson River" (Kramer 90). Fortunately, no one got hurt. When her books came out there were many critics that disagreed with her books and left negative reviews.


Toni Morrison really didn't have a friend or a mentor the most influential person in her life was probably her parents. As she was growing up, her father worked really hard and took pride in all the work he did, he would tell the best stories and make the best out of the worst. "Thinking about how little their lives were worth to their landlord was depressing, so instead, she laughed" (Kramer 13). Her mother loved music. She was in the church choir and would always play music around the house. They taught Morrison to make the best of things and think of everything in a positive light. The way she grew up with storytelling and her African-American culture led her to the path to become a writer.


• She won the Pulizter Prize

• She also won the Nobel Peace Prize

• She won pretty much all the writers awards that a writer could win.


While being a single mother, she took a writing club and wrote stories as a hobby. She wrote at home an worked as an editor. When she pursued writing as her career, her new hobby became gardening. She didn't take up many hobbies because she loved writing and didn't have that much time for anything else.


I think that fire is a good symbol for her because it matches her personality. She is determined and unafraid. Fire also caused tragedy in her life as well. When she was little her house burned down, "[Toni] was too young to remember the fire, but her parent told her that story many times as she was growing up" (Kramer 13). A few decades later her house burned down again destroying most pictures and memories that her children had created.


I think that Toni Morrison would be my friend. She is determined to work hard and doesn't care about the prizes or awards. She does what she enjoys and quit all her other jobs to pursue writing full time. I think it's cool that she accomplished a lot even though she grew up from a poor family and became a single mother.

Most like...

Toni Morrison reminds me the most of my dad. He is determined and not afraid to speak his mind just like Morrison. He has worked hard to make his family see the the positive in life. Morrison tried to help her family and made sure to see the positive light.

Altruist or Egotist

Toni Morrison is definitely an altruist. She doesn't do are about the titles or awards all she cares about is writing. Even though she won the Nobel Peace prize she doesn't boast about it which is what an egotist would do. Even when she found out that she won Morrison was excited but still went back and taught her class before receiving it. She is also an altruist because even when she was famous she still went out and mentored a couple people every year who were interested in writing.


Top Books



The Bluest Eye

Song of Solomon


Tar Baby


Raman and George Woffard- Her parents loved music and writing and would make the most of living in a poor neighborhood. They had to live in a multiracial neighborhood that had racist people who would bully them for being black but they tried to block their children from them.

Harold Morrison- Morrison's ex-husband was not talked about in interviews because Morrison wanted to keep that part of her life private. "He didn't need me making judgements about him. Which I did. A lot" (Kramer 28). She and her husband disagreed a lot which is why they divorced.

Slade and Ford Morrison-Her kids both went to college and supported their mother during the time when she gave up everything to become a writer.