Racial Stereotypes In Toni Morrison's 'Recitatif'

Decent Essays
“Recitatif” is a short story by Toni Morrison, an african american author. On the outside, this story seems to feature 5 meetings between two girls, each aging slightly each time we see them. One white. One black. Referred to as “Salt and pepper”. However, on the inside, Toni Morrison reveals her intention to educate the readers about racial stereotypes and their everyday impacts. She does this through her unique writing style of making influential choices, and using symbols to harmonize them with her theme.
One of the traits that made Toni Morrison’s writing style unique was her significant choice in the story. Her main choice was not telling the readers who was black and white and making the girls have similar backgrounds. The first time Twyla and Roberta meet is in the orphanage. Their fathers are both out of the story, mothers who are unable to care for them, and very alone. In the very first page of the story, Twyla mentions that, “we looked like salt the pepper standing there,”. By this quote, we can infer that Twyla and her friend Roberta are black and white. However, Morrison chooses not to reveal who was which race. Since this leaves the readers to make their own assumptions through often wrong stereotypes, Morrison makes a point to switch the stereotypes around for the girls in various places in the story.
For example, in the beginning Roberta “couldn’t read at all and didn’t even listen to the teacher.” And in this time period, african americans were
Get Access