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A Take on Teaching Writing from Our Beloved Toni Morrison

Read the article "You Don’t Know Anything And Other Writing Advice from Toni Morrison”


Respond to the contents of the article and the following questions from what you watched in the documentary "The Pieces I Am":

  1. Have you ever read a book written by Toni Morrison? If yes, which one(s)? How much did you know about Toni Morrison prior to watching "The Pieces I Am" and reading "You Don't Know Anything and Other Writing Advice from Toni Morrison"?

  2. What does Toni Morrison's writing teach us about the POWER of words and language?

  3. What does Toni Morrison teach us about the connection between reading and writing?

  4. What does Toni Morrison mean by "The White Gaze"? What are examples of (mentor) texts you've read that are demonstrative of "The White Gaze"?

  5. How does "The White Gaze" impact you as a soon-to-be teacher of writing?



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Disappointingly enough, I have never read a book by Toni Morrison. I say it’s disappointing, because I went to very diverse schools growing up in Queens, NY, and we were given a lot of books to read as part of our curriculum that shed light on the sufferings and pain of Black Americans, such as The Secret Life of Bees (my personal absolute favorite), To Kill a Mockingbird, etc. I believe Toni Morrison was the pioneer for this genre of books, as she was the first person to bring light to what is considered a “taboo” topic for America, which is why I am a little disappointed it wasn’t something that was part of my curriculum growing up. I was…


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Sebastian Andrade
Sebastian Andrade
Mar 08, 2022

When I was in high school, my teacher assigned the novel Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. At first, I was hesitant to read the novel because I had heard there were intense themes in the novel. The teacher decided it was best to give more context to the students about who Toni Morrison was and the impact that she had on the literature community. Toni Morrison has become a staple in literature, her novels have been used in classrooms throughout the world. Themes of racial injustice, escapism, and the black experience are echoed through her books. After learning this, I was able to appreciate Toni Morrison's novels for what they represent: a record detailing the African American experience.

Toni…


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Vivett Dukes
Vivett Dukes
Mar 21, 2022
Replying to

Your connection to Morrison’s motifs and current TikTok trends is insightful. The Bluest Eye is a timeless American classic piece of literature. If only it were taught more broadly as such…

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I have never read a book by Toni Morrison but I have heard a lot about her work and have always meant to read something by her. Before watching “The Pieces I Am” and reading “You Don’t Know Anything and Other Writing Advice from Toni Morrison,” I knew that Morrison was a very influential and accomplished writer. I was only really familiar with her work, Beloved, and had never heard the titles of any of her other novels. While watching “The Pieces I Am,” I learned about her other pieces, such as Sula and The Bluest Eye. The documentary’s discussion of The Bluest Eye has made me super interested in reading it. Both the plot and the controversy surrounding i…




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Vivett Dukes
Vivett Dukes
Mar 21, 2022
Replying to

Your analysis of Morrison’s work, the the white gaze, and Invisible Man is insightful. How might you teach Ellison’s classic in a more culturally responsive way in your classroom one day?

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Prima Mandolfo
Prima Mandolfo
Feb 28, 2022

Although I have been exposed to a lot of passages by Toni Morrison, I have not gotten around to reading a full novel. In some classes we talk heavily about her content, but I have not been asked to read any of her novels within the curriculum. (I have a copy of The Bluest Eye on my computer's kindle and I've been meaning to read it!😫). I was first exposed to her writings for a poetry class that I took back at Suffolk County Community College. The poetry class introduced us to her "Five Poems", such as "The Perfect Ease of Grain" and "I Am Not Seaworthy" which were all very unique and creative. It's a bit hard to explain,…




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Hi Prima! Thank you for that link! I read through her poems on that website and they were beautiful. My favorite was "It Comes Unadorned." I also agree with what you said about Morrison's confidence. I love how she holds herself and is so firm in her abilities, even when she is faced with so much criticism and controversy for her work.

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Ziqi Wu
Ziqi Wu
Feb 28, 2022


I have managed to read a book written by Toni Morrison before. The novel's title is ‘The blue eye, 'where the questions of gender and race are the center of her message. Before watching "The pieces I am" and reading "You don't know anything and other writing advice from Toni Morrison," I Knew her as a prolific writer who has written a lot of inspiring content. I have known her as a teacher who has been influential in exciting talents in writing.


Toni Morrison's writing teaches us that the kind of language and choice of words employed in writing determines the quality of writing. Toni Morrison points out that violent language limits knowledge which can affect both the writer and…




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