Recitatif: an Analysis

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Terence Alex Stewart II Jean Bowen English 1102 19 June 2012 Recitatif: An analysis In Toni Morrison’s story, Recitatif, the racial identity of Roberta and Twyla has more than one meaning in the story. From the beginning, it is obvious that Roberta and Twyla are of different races. They were both stuck in a strange place with a girl from a different race. Each character is developed more and more throughout the story, though it does not necessarily conclude as to what race each girl is (Androne 133). Many of the traits could indicate either a black or white girl. Furthermore, it confuses the issue even more by leaving it to the reader to decide one way or another. However, I think that’s the very point of the story. From the start, my initial reactions were that Roberta was the black girl and Twyla was the white girl (Wang 812-816). During the beginning of the story, an adverse attitude was taken toward black people. It seems as though Twyla s mom had told her that black people never wash their hair and smell funny. Roberta did smell funny; however, this is insufficient evidence to decide one way or the other. Twyla also tells the Big Bozo,” My mother won’t like you putting me here” (Morrison 130). A white mother didn’t want her daughter to be roomed with a black girl. Roberta does not seem to understand that Twyla shows concern for being put into the same room as Roberta, while Roberta does not seem to notice any hatred towards her. Another clue of each girl’s race is the depiction of each of their mothers. Twyla’s mother, Mary, wore tight green pants and a ratty fur jacket with the pocket linings so ripped she had to pull to get her hands out of them. Roberta s mom was very different. She was larger than any man and on her chest was the biggest cross, Twyla, had ever seen and in her arm was the biggest Bible ever made. Twyla’s mother did not bring any food

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