Toni Morrison: A Teaching and Learning Resource Collection

Maps and Data

Here is a preliminary table with simple data related to Morrison's eleven published novels: 

TitleYearLength (in words)Unique wordsVocabulary densityWords per sentence
The Bluest Eye1970  54,12867680.12511.8
Song of Solomon1977117,13088430.07511.6
Tar Baby198110408787060.08411.5
A Mercy20084541364710.14213.2
God Help the Child  20154004862030.15512.7

Toni Morrison's longest novel -- Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison's most difficult novel -- Paradise (based on number of unique words)
Toni Morrison's shortest novel -- Home

It's often been said that something changed in Morrison's fiction after Paradise -- and this table generally supports that. All novels following Paradise were shorter -- 60,000 words or less, and had fewer unique words.  In comparison to her earlier works, Morrison's last three novels seem especially short and tend to feature vocabulary with fewer than 7000 unique words. That said, other measures of stylistic complexity, including words per sentence, suggest a high degree of stylistic consistency throughout Morrison's career.

As this site develops, the plan is to collect and process more data related to Toni Morrison's writing, including: The links below are works in progress.


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