Analysis Of The Book ' By Toni Morrison

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Predetermined stereotypes force people to view circumstances in a certain way. When there is an insufficient amount of information, these stereotypes tend to be more prominent in the way a situation is perceived. In the short story “Recitatif,” the author Toni Morrison completely neglects to inform the reader of the racial backgrounds of the two main characters, as well as the groups they associate themselves with. Throughout the short story, there are various events and actions that cause the reader to guess the races of the characters. The racial ambiguity in the story forces the reader to apply their own predetermined stereotypes in order to make assumptions of the racial backgrounds of the characters. The racial ambiguous writing starts near the beginning of the short story. In only the second paragraph, the main characters, Twyla and Roberta, meet in their room at the shelter, St. Bonny’s. Twyla’s introductory statement is, “My mother won’t like you putting me in here” (Morrison Web). Depending on how the reader interprets this message, an initial assumption can be made about the ethnicity of both characters. An argument can be presented that, because of the discrimination and segregation that blacks were forced to undergo in history, Twyla is white and Roberta is black. A contradictory rationalization could state that throughout the setting, blacks were taking a stance against the whites. Therefore, the opposite races could be assigned to the characters. Hispanics
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