Beloved And Toni Morrison
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Beloved And Toni Morrison
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Toni Morrison, the first black woman to receive Nobel Prize in Literature, was born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931 in Lorain, Ohio, U.S.A. She was the second of four children of George Wofford, a shipyard welder and Ramah Willis Wofford. Her parents moved to Ohio from the South to escape racism and to find better opportunities in the North. Her father was a hardworking and dignified man. While the children were growing up, he worked three jobs at the same time for almost 17 years. Her mother was a church-going woman and she sang in the choir. At home, Chloe heard many songs and tales of Southern black folklore. The Woffords were proud of their heritage.
Chloe attended an integrated school. In her first grade, she was the only black student in her class and the only one who could read. She was friends with many of her white schoolmates and did not encounter discrimination until she started dating. She hoped one day to become a dancer like her favorite ballerina, Maria Tallchief, and she also loved to read. Her early favorites were the Russian writers Tolstoy and Dostoyevski, French author Gustave Flaubert and English novelist Jane Austen. She was an excellent student and she graduated with honors from Lorain High School in 1949.
Chloe Wofford then attended the prestigious Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she majored in English with a minor in classics. Since many people couldn\'t pronounce her first name correctly, she changed it to Toni, a shortened version of her middle name. She joined a repertory company, the Howard University Players, with whom she made several tours of the South. She saw firsthand the life of the blacks there, the life her parents had escaped by moving north. Toni Wofford graduated from Howard University in 1953 with a B.A. in English. She then attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and received a master\'s degree in 1955.
At Howard she met and fell in love with a young Jamaican architect, Harold Morrison. They married in 1958 and their first son, Harold Ford, was born in 1961. Toni continued teaching while helping take care of her family. She also joined a small writer\'s group as a temporary escape from an unhappy married life. Each member of this group was required to bring a story or poem for discussion. One week, having nothing to bring, she quickly wrote a story loosely based on a girl she knew in childhood who had prayed to God for blue eyes. The story was well received by the group and then Toni put it away thinking she was done with it. Her marriage deteriorated, and while pregnant with their second child she left her husband, left her job at the university, and took her son on a trip to Europe. Later, she divorced her husband and returned to her parents\' house in Lorain with her two sons.
In the fall of 1964 Morrison obtained a job with a textbook subsidiary of Random House in Syracuse, New York as an associate editor. Her hope was to be transferred soon to New York City. While working all day, the housekeeper took care of her sons and in the evening Morrison cooked dinner and played with the boys until their bedtime. When her sons were asleep, she started writing. She dusted off the story she had written for the writer\'s group and decided to make it into a novel. She drew on her memories from childhood and expanded them with her imagination so that the characters developed a life of their own. She found writing exciting and challenging. Other than parenting, she found everything else boring by comparison.
In 1967 she was transferred to New York and became a senior editor at Random House. The Bluest Eye was eventually published in 1970 to much critical acclaim, although it was not commercially successful. From 1971-1972 Morrison was the associate professor of English at the State University of New York at Purchase while she continued working at Random House. In addition, she soon started writing her second novel where she focused on a friendship between two adult black women. Sula was published in 1973.
Song of Solomon, her third
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Beloved, Women and death, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Sethe, Chloe, Margaret Garner, Morrison, Song of Solomon
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