The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Monica Pelaez

Second Advisor

Judith Dorn

Third Advisor

Christopher Lehman

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Toni Morrison


In August 2019, the world lost an unwavering voice that demanded truth, love, and beauty. The death of Toni Morrison was deeply saddening. Morrison’s artifacts center black women and removes the shadow of whiteness that has stifled black lives for many years. Toni Morrison’s novels have often been read as presenting something beloved, lost, and familiar to the African-American reader. Her ability to progressively and pragmatically write for black women and about black women fosters my professional and personal growth. Particularly, the novels The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Beloved illustrate Morrison’s awareness of the black female voice. In exploring the discourse around the goodness of black women, Morrison’s literature offers the best possible response.



I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Monica Pelaez, for the continuous support of my thesis, for her patience, hard questions, and immense knowledge. Her guidance helped me narrow down my topic, structure my thesis, and revise continuously. Her insightful comments allowed me to learn and produce throughout the entire experience.

I’m deeply indebted to my husband Chad, who has shared my dreams from the beginning. His motivation and enthusiasm in this whole experience solidifies our ability to work effectively as a team. To our courageous daughters, who you have particularly raised during the last two years, thank you.

Especially helpful to me during this time were my in-laws, my mother, my sisters, and my graduate friends. To my in-laws, thank you for raising your granddaughters with us with encouragement and love; my mother, thank you for still raising your adult daughter with compassion and unwavering love; my sisters, thank you for listening to me cry, weep, and scream; and lastly, my graduate friends, thank you for sharing the pain and joy through it all.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published a startling statistic October 2018, “16 million girls will never set foot in a classroom and women account for two thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.” When I was a little girl, a black-Somali-Muslim refugee little girl, earning a master’s degree in English studies never seemed imaginable. However, reading became my vehicle to success. Books buried my failures and inspired my successes. I am forever grateful to Toni Morrison’s artifacts to this world and her ability to foster the identity of black women. I am blessed to know Toni Morrison’s work.