2019 marks the end of the two BELOVED “Tonies”, one is the fictional character Tony Stark of Marvel’s cinematic universe and the other of course the Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison.
Toni Morrison, an African American novelist who have given the voices to the Black Community and uncurtained her country’s past and represented the lives and experiences of the unwanted & unknown, those she would call, “the unfree at the heart of the democratic experiences” died after a brief illness on Monday. She was 88. Known for her searing and lyrical works about slavery and the history of African Americans, novelist Toni Morrison was widely regarded as one of the leading lights of US literature and a champion for repressed minorities.
Winner of Literature’s highest laurels including Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and Pulitzer Prize for her novel ‘BELOVED’ in 1988, roared like a lion in the field of fiction writing for almost 50 years. Her novels presented the realistic conditions of the black people in America during the 20th century in front of the world and were the storehouse of poetry, love, adventures & old gossips weather in small-town Ohio un ‘SULA’ or big city Harlem in ‘JASS’. The very first African American woman to win the Nobel prize in Literature, Toni Morrison penned 11 novels and essay collections during her lifetime and was a very rare writer whose works were both critically and commercially successful. Toni says she was inspired by the works of Chinue Achebe, an African novelist especially his well-acknowledged novel ‘Things Fall Apart’.
Presenting her Nobel Prize, The Swedish Academy cited her “novels characterized by visionary force & poetic import” through which ser “gives life to essential aspects of American Realities” and the reality of the American dream. Her techniques of amalgamation of the history of black oppression with myth, magic, and superstition often lead her readers to compare her works with the Latin American magic realistic novelist like Gabriel García Márquez. Her prose was so truthful and real, so accurate and to the very point, so filled with pain and amuse that her novel becomes poetry. Her admirers ranged from a student to a common man to the former President of USA Barak Obama who awarded her with Presidential Medal of Honor to Oprah Winfrey who idolized Toni Morrison and starred & produced the adaptation of Toni’s well-known work ‘BELOVED’ in 1998.
Along with her legendary status in the world of literature, Morrison had a very clear voice in politics, using her platform to examine the inequitable climate. From ‘SONG OF SOLOMON’ to ‘BELOVED’ Toni reaches us deeply, using a tone that is lyrical, precise, distinct, and inclusive.
Losing Toni Morrison means losing an indelible champion of Black American culture and thought the sharpest of thinkers, and a voice of the dissent. She will always be remembered whenever there will be a talk about the rights of black people. The strong voice which roared in the later half of the 20th century is now silenced forever.
“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”