Compare and Contrasts of 'Recitatif'

Decent Essays
“Recitatif” In “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison, two young girls Roberta and Twyla meet one another at a state home for orphan and foster children. It is apparent from the start that either of the girls is white or black. Even at their young age, they both have preconceived expectations of the other because of their difference in race. However, as each character ages and is developed further, many of their traits could be that of someone white or black, albeit they contrast in personality. As a result of these traits, readers will likely unconsciously try to racially classify Roberta and Twyla only to change their mind a minute later. “Recitatif” forces readers to abandon the preconceived stereotypes and realize that they are constantly…show more content…
White schools typically are seen as having better curriculum, better funding, and more qualified teachers. Also, one might assume that a white mother would be more prone to bigotry and to protest against the issue.
Within all of this, there is the incident of protestors surrounding Twyla’s car and rocking it. In the story, Twyla suggests that the police do not rush to stop the protestors, “The four policemen who had been drinking Tab in their car finally got the message and strolled over” (211), or to disperse the conflict. It would be easy to assume that the policemen where white. The softness the policemen used to ask the women to move away from the car and return to the sidewalk and made no moves to clear the protest supports a view of white cops, with an unspoken agreement between them and the theme of the protest, asking white protestors to refrain from rocking a black women’s car. “Recitatif” addresses several problems in society without attaching a character to a specific issue. Toni Morrison shows racial stereotyping as a learned behavior as well as an incessant activity. The most admirable characteristic of this story is it does not draw a particular conclusion nor does it come to a clean resolution. The general framework of the story poses questions that incite the reader to reevaluate one’s opinion of the importance of race to them. The story causes one to try to see others as
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