Toni Morrison taught me that it’s ok to be absolute. Absolutely, Absolute. I’m talking Webster dictionary definition of absolute:
a: free from imperfection: PERFECT… it is a most absolute and excellent horse.— William Shakespeareb: free or relatively free from mixture: PURE absolute alcoholc: OUTRIGHT, UNMITIGATED an absolute lie2: being, governed by, or characteristic of a ruler or authority completely free from constitutional or other restraint absolute power3: having no restriction, exception, or qualification an absolute requirement absolute freedom4: POSITIVE, UNQUESTIONABLE absolute proof5 a: independent of arbitrary standards of measurementb: relating to or derived in the simplest manner from the fundamental units of length, mass, and time absolute electric unitsc: relating to, measured on, or being a temperature scale based on absolute zero absolute temperature specifically: KELVIN10° absolute6: FUNDAMENTAL, ULTIMATE absolute knowledge7: perfectly embodying the nature of a thing absolute justice8grammara: standing apart from a normal or usual syntactical relation with other words or sentence elements the absolute construction this being the case in the sentence "this being the case, let us go"b of an adjective or possessive pronoun: standing alone without a modified substantive Blind in "help the blind" and ours in "your work and ours" are absolute.c of a verb: having no object in the particular construction under consideration though normally transitive Kill in "if looks could kill" is an absolute verb.9: being self-sufficient and free of external references or relationships an absolute term in logic absolute music10: being the true distance from an aircraft to the earth's surface absolute altitude
I first read a Toni Morrison book when I was in high school. One of my English teachers, Mrs. Fernandez assigned us The Bluest Eye. I was around 14 years old. Honestly, I enjoyed the book because it was about black people, a black experience and it was written by a black person. I went to high school in Connecticut, which has a lot of white people. It’s quite common to have white teachers throughout your entire educational experience. So I valued that I had a black English teacher who assigned stories about black experiences and black authors. Honestly, I never had the opportunity to say that to her. In fact, I never said anything to Mrs. Fernandez outside of turning in my work and asking for clarification when needed but she was probably the most impactful educator I had throughout my educational experience and largely because of assigning books like the ones by Toni Morrison.
When I first read the Bluest Eye, I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to have different color eyes other than the ones they were born with the outside of it being used as a costume or “for fun”. Looking back it was pretty naive of me because I could not imagine anyone wanting to be anything other than themselves but at some point it sunk in and I started recognizing how people received my mother because she had lighter eyes than us and how people treated me because of my hair and the way we were all regarded because of our lighter skin. I started to understand how people could want to be me simply because of that and how messaging both subliminal and overt communicates certain ideals in society. So in the Bluest Eye, Pecola wants blue eyes because she believes it will make her life better. Somewhere in her environment, that was illustrated to be true.
I think it’s really important for people to see themselves as themselves illustrated in society not interpreted by someone without relation or shared experience. If you’ve never read a Toni Morrison novel, I’ve added my favorites to my Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/shop/daisijoreviews