In Home, I wrote from a man’s point of view. I had never really done that seriously until Song of Solomon. I thought, “What are they really like? What do they really think?” My father had died shortly before, and I remember saying, “I wonder what he knew.” And then I just felt relief, that, at some point, I would know, because I’d asked the right questions of him, and that it would come. And in fact it did. I’ll tell you what helped: black male writers write about what’s important to them or their lives, and what is important to them is the oppressor, the white man, because he’s the one making life complicated. Then I noticed that black women never do that. In the ’20s, they did, but I mean contemporary—and I wasn’t interested in it. Suddenly if you took the gaze of the white male—or even the white female, but certainly the male—out of the world, it was freedom! You could think anything, go anywhere, imagine anything . . . There was no longer the problem of looking through the master’s gaze. With that gaze, you’re always reacting, proving something. So not having to do that . . . I think one of the reasons I’m so thrilled with writing is because it is an act of reading for me at the same time, which is why my revisions are so sustained. Because I’m reading it. I’m there. Intimacy is extremely important to me and I want it to be extremely important to the readers, too.
-Toni Morrison, Interview Magazine