Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

Evocative Lines from ‘Mouth Full Of Blood’ that Reshape our Worldview

Spanning four decades, the essays, speeches and meditations in Mouth Full Of Blood interrogate the world around us. They are concerned with race, gender and globalisation. The sweep of American history and the current state of politics. The duty of the press and the role of the artist. Throughout Mouth Full of Blood our search for truth, moral integrity and expertise is met by Toni Morrison with controlled anger, elegance and literary excellence.

The collection is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin.

Here are some powerful lines from Toni Morrison’s book that will leave an imprint on you!

“Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel that unlike money, unlike vengeance, even unlike justice or rights or the goodwill of others, only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination.”

“The fall of communism created a bouquet of new or reinvented nations who measured their statehood by ‘cleansing’ communities. Whether the targets were of different religions, races, cultures – whatever – reasons were found first to demonize then to expel or murder them.”

“If education is about anything other than being able to earn more money( and it may not be about any other thing), that other thing is intelligent problem-solving and humans relating to one another in mutually constructive ways.”

“For if education requires tuition but no meaning, if it is to be about nothing other than careers, if it is to be about nothing other than defining and husbanding beauty or isolating goods and making sure enrichment is the privilege of the few, then it can be stopped in the sixth grade or the sixth century when it had been mastered.

“Biology and bigotry are the historical enemies – the ones women have long understood as the target is sexism is to be uprooted.

“Complicity in the subjugation of race and class accounts for much of the self-sabotage women are prey to, for it is straight out of that subjugation that certain female- destroying myths have come.”

“I am alarmed by the violence that women do to one another: professional violence, competitive violence, emotional violence. I am alarmed by the willingness of women to enslave other women. I am alarmed by the growing absence of decency on the killing floor of professional women’s worlds.”

“I have never lived, nor have any of you, in a world in which race did not matter. Such a world, a world free of racial hierarchy, is frequently imagined or described as a dreamscape, Edenesque, utopian so remote are the possibilities of its achievement.”

“The defenders of Western hegemony sense the encroachment and have already described, defined and named the possibility of imagining race without dominance, without hierarchy, as ‘barbarism’; as destroying the four-gated city; as the end of history – all of which can be read as garbage, rubbish, an already damaged experience, a valueless future.”

Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all.






More from the Penguin Digest

error: Content is protected !!