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Toni Morrison’s Writing Inspired by Ghosts

American novelist Toni Morrison is best known for her novels exploring the experiences of African Americans. When she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, she said at the ceremony that she was “pleasantly haunted by ghosts.” In this interview, Morrison discussed the ghosts inhabiting her writing. The novel Beloved has a ghost as a central character in a story about two slaves who fell in love. The novel Jazz recalls Harlem in the 1920’s and explores the themes of purgatory and jazz music. Listen to this story to learn what sparked Morrison’s creativity.


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Story Length: 8:30

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • In what ways did Andrew Carnegie’s libraries serve their communities?
  • How did Carnegie benefit from a library when he was growing up?
  • Which personality traits helped propel Carnegie from poverty to riches? Bring specific details from the story to support your ideas.
  • According to Carnegie, what should rich people do with their money and why? Why was Carnegie known as both generous and “brutal”?

Discussion Themes

  • In your opinion, what should really rich people do with their fortunes?
  • What does it take for a person to rise from “rags to riches”?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234

Listening Organizers

  • Fact, Question, Response

  • Language Identification Organizer

  • Deeper Meaning Chart