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Recitatif Essay

  • Submitted by: Shaiyenne
  • on November 25, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,433 words

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Below is an essay on "Recitatif" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Racial Debate of “Recitatif”

In Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif,” there are two main female characters: Twyla, and Roberta. The story is about the two young girls meeting in an orphanage known in the story as “St. Bonnys,” becoming friends, and their later encounters with each other throughout their lives. At the end of the story, Toni Morrison presents a sort of mystery that referenced their childhood, back to where they had first met, as a cliff hanger. The issue is that although racial stereotypes and distinctions are made throughout this story, it is never stated nor is it clear, the actual race of the two main characters. Although Toni Morrison leaves this racial distinction open for argument in her story, throughout the text there is enough evidence to support the claim that Twyla is the African American of the two, and Roberta is Caucasian.
One reason it is safe to believe that Twyla is black in this story is because in the very beginning, Morrison presents a racial stereotype through the mind of the young Twyla. At first being introduced to Roberta, Twyla flashes back to a time her mother would “stop dancing long enough to tell her … they never washed their hair and they smelled funny.” Morrison wants the reader to side with whom they think they are at this point and begin to assume the racial distinction of the two girls. This is exactly what I had done when I read the story for the first time. Once I read that line I instantly thought to myself, smirking to the familiar content, “Oh, Twyla is definitely black.” I jumped to this conclusion because the stereotype that Twyla had been reinforced to her by her mother is the same stereotype that I had heard a few times growing up as a child. Sure, the stereotype could go both ways, but in my experience, the stereotype is told by African Americans, about whites. So that line alone, gave me my first reason into believing the race of Twyla was African American and the race of Roberta was white....

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MLA Citation

"Recitatif". Anti Essays. 13 Dec. 2018


APA Citation

Recitatif. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://snehaedu.com/free-essays/Recitatif-358516.html