The Story “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison

Pages: 1
Words: 285

In the story “Recitatif,” written by Toni Morrison, the audience has to make an assumption on the main characters’ race and class while having limited information for it. However, when one of the girls, Twyla, reflects on their differences, in the beginning, she mentions that it is typical for people of her background not to wash their hair. This fact makes one believe that Roberta belongs to a low-income family of workers, even though the narrator claims that, surprisingly, this characteristic is not attributed to her. Consequently, Roberta is supposed to be black, and Twyla is white as the former circumstances stereotypically distinguish the two races.

In the continuation of this piece, I did not change my mind on the subject because the lives of the girls were different in a way to reflect a gap between their positions in society. Thus, Twyla claims to live comfortably with her husband James, which means that the couple is likely to belong to a middle-class family. Regardless of the fact that they have many relatives, their situation seems favorable from the perspective of general wellbeing. In addition, these conditions correlate with the factors mentioned above and allow concluding on the correctness of determining the race and living standards of the two girls.

As for the significance of Morrison’s choice to withhold information about the characters’ racial identities, it is conditional upon her seeming desire to show the effects of stereotypes in society. From this point of view, the readers are proved to be subject to them when they assume the details about them. As a result, this approach to writing the examined piece helps increase the awareness of the audience concerning their implicit participation in solidifying biases.