Race, Power, And Class In 'Recitatif'

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Topic: How race, power, and class negatively affect women’s opinions of each other. Introduction: In the story “Recitatif” we see a dynamic depiction of the struggle of two female friends who face identity crisis. The story takes the reader from childhood to adulthood from the perspective of a black girl. In the adolescent stage of the reading, we can conclude that the innocence of a child’s mind is not deterred by the adult themes of race, power, and class. As the reading progresses and innocence fades, we conclude that these themes influence the two friends to behave poorly towards each other. The remainder of this paper will be framed in chronological order from various stages throughout the character’s lives, proving this conclusion to be true. Scene 1…show more content…
It was not yet revealed the racial background of each character, although some underlying clues give notion that the young girls have already been exposed to negative racial stereotypes, but as scholar Susanna Morris writes “Women's friendships in "Recitatif" are mitigated and mediated by oppressive power relations that are highly visible and important even when race is radically destabilized.” Twyla recalls a time when her mother stated that ‘they never wash their hair and they smell funny’, which was directed at white people. Twyla’s initial reaction was to follow her mother’s teachings and not befriend a white girl. However, in this instance both Roberta and Twyla were on the same power level and in the same class. Because of this, race did not matter. (Morris,
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