Jazz

by: Toni Morrison

Important Quotations

Quotes Important Quotations

But I can't say that aloud; I can't tell anyone that I have been waiting for this all my life and that being chosen to wait is the reason I can. If I were able I'd say it. Say make me, remake me. You are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look. Look where your hands are. Now.

The very last lines of the novel, this passage repositions the narrator as the central character by focusing our attention on her own mysterious identity. We are left to wonder "who is this speaking" rather than finishing the book with his or her mind riveted on the Violet-Joe-Dorcas saga. Interestingly, although the narrator claims that she can't admit her need to love and be loved she does precisely that, revealing her motives and inviting us to do something with her story. As the spirit of the novel, she asks to be made and remade, thereby insisting upon the malleability and improvisational quality of the histories contained in the novel. She confronts us directly and alerts us to the act of reading, an act that she sees as being active rather than passive. The story rests in our hands and is now as much ours as it is the narrator's. Drawing attention to the physical act of holding a book, Morrison closes any distance that remains between the text and her reader, suggesting that all of our stories are contiguous when art and life meet.