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Quotes from Tar Baby - Toni Morrison

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Page 6 "There he saw the stars and exchanged stares with the moon, but he could see very little of the land, which was just as well because he was gazing at the shore of an island that, three hundred years ago, had struck slaves blind the moment they saw it."

Page 7 "The men had already folded the earth where there had been no fold and hollowed her where there had been no hollow."

Page 11 "He [Valerian] hauls everybody down to the equator to grow Northern flowers?" (Margaret)

Page 12 "He [Valerian] read only mail these days, having given up books because the language in them had changed so much — stained with rivulets of disorder and meaninglessness."

Page 37 "She stirred milk into the chocolate paste and chuckled." (Ondine)

Page 43 "that mother/sister/she" (Jadine’s dreams)

Page 57 "although the theme of her defense in the argument was that Ondine (if not all colored people) was just as good as they were, she didn’t believe it." (about Margaret)

Page 76 "‘Sunday,’ he [Valerian] was saying with the bell-full voice of ownership"

Page 82 "literally a nigger in the woodpile" (Margaret on Son)

Page 85 "…not dreaming something she was supposed to be dreaming" (about Margaret)

Page 88 "Giving your son a whole human being for a Christmas present / … / Now he’ll [Michael] own him, I suspect. What money can’t buy." (Ondine)

Page 113 "the small dark dogs galloping on silver feet." (metaphor for Jadine’s sexual passion)

Page 121 "Rape? Why you little white girls always think somebody’s trying to rape you?" "Then why don’t you settle down and stop acting like it [acting white]" (Son to Jadine)

Page 126 "Doesn’t he know the difference between one Black and another or does he think we’re all…" (Jadine)

Page 129 "He looked like a gorilla" (Margaret)"Jadine’s neck prickled at the description. She had volunteered nigger — but not gorilla."

Page 139 "He’d [Son] had seven documented identities and before that a few undocumented ones, so he barely remembered he real original name himself."

Page 147 "The candy was named after me. I was named after an emperor." (Valerian)

Page 184 "The women hanging from the trees were quiet now, but arrogant — mindful as they were of their value, their exceptional femaleness; knowing as they did that the first world of the world have been built with their sacred properties"

Page 203 "the people whose sugar and cocoa had allowed him [Valerian] to grow old in regal comfort;" (Son in a stream of consciousness)

Page 204-205 "That was the sole lesson of their world: how to make waste, how to make machines that made more waste. /…/it would drown them one day,"

Page 206 "The man who respected industry looked over a gulf at the man who prized fraternity."

Page 208 "I may be a cook, Mr. Street, but I’m a person too." (Ondine)

Page 222 "smiling to think of what the leaden waves of the Atlantic had become in the hands of civilization. The triumph of ingenuity that had transferred the bored treachery of the sea into a playful gush of water that did exactly what it was told." (Son in about the tub)

Page 245 "He [Valerian] had not known because he had not taken the trouble to know."

Page 265 "He’s a person not a white man." (Jadine on Valerian)

Page 269 "She [Jadine]…demanded clarity, precision, very specific solutions to open-ended problems,"

Page 277 "she [Jadine] was grateful to be far away from his [Son] original-dime ways, his white-folks-flack-folks primitivism."

Page 285 "This place dislocates everything."

Page 308 "She has forgotten her ancient properties." (Thérèse about Jadine)

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