Toni Morrison: Earnings Squander

Posted by admin on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Toni Morrison Money Quote saying in the New Yorker of 2017 that money can be wasted and it can be used for real things where it is needed and can bring fulfillment to us. Toni Morrison said:
 
my pride was based on the fact that I gave half my wages to my mother, which meant that some of my earnings were used for real things — an insurance-policy payment Quote
 

“Part of my pride in working for Her was earning money I could squander: on movies, candy, paddleballs, jacks, ice-cream cones. But a larger part of my pride was based on the fact that I gave half my wages to my mother, which meant that some of my earnings were used for real things — an insurance-policy payment or what was owed to the milkman or the iceman” — Toni Morrison

 

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In this quote, Toni Morrison is reflecting on her childhood experience of working to earn money and the pride she took in both enjoying small pleasures with some of her wages, but also contributing financially to her family through giving half of her earnings to her mother.

The best interpretation is that Morrison felt a dual sense of pride – she was proud to have independence and agency over some of her money to buy little treats, but she took even greater pride in being able to help support her family practically through the portion of her wages that went towards necessities like insurance, bills for milk and ice delivery.

Morrison viewed both aspects – enjoying modest personal rewards of her work as well as meaningfully assisting her mother through her earnings – as contributing to her self-worth and positive identity at that stage of her life. The quote conveys Morrison’s appreciation for both the small joys and real responsibilities that came with her early working experience.

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