Final Word: Toni Morrison


Welcome to words matter with katie barlow and joe lockhart last week we lost one of the most influential and celebrated novelists in american literary history tony morrison a novelist essayist. They ask 'em princeton. Professor morrison wrote nine major novels all of which earned extensive critical acclaim as oprah winfrey said after her passing last week she was a magician with language who understood the power of words she used them to royal us to wake us us to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them a woman who certainly understood that words matter among dozens of other awards and achievements she won both a pulitzer prize and american book award in nineteen eighty eight for her novel beloved and in nineteen ninety-three tony morrison became the first black woman of any nationality to win a nobel prize the citation for her award in literature declared declared morrison to be an author who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import gives life to an essential aspect of american can reality in two thousand twelve tony morrison was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by president barack obama and during her commencement address at rutgers university in two thousand eleven tony morrison encouraged graduates to seek a meaningful life something she herself had certainly achieved so so this week we give american treasure toni morrison the final word i have often wish that jefferson had had not used that phrase the pursuit of happiness as the third right although although i understand and the first draft was life liberty and the pursuit of property of course i would have been one of those properties one had the right to pursue so i suppose happiness is is an epochal improvement over a life devoted to the acquisition of land acquisition -sition of resources acquisition of slaves still i would rather he had written life liberty and the pursuit of meaningfulness or integrity or truth. I know that happiness has been the real if covert goal of your labors here i know that it informs your choice of companions the profession you will enter but i urge you. Please don't settle for happiness. It's that's not good enough. Of course you deserve it but at that's all you have in mind happiness. I want to suggest to you that personal success devoid of meaningfulness free three of a steady commitment to social justice. That's more than a baron life. It's a trivial one.

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