Every Encounter Matters

In: English and Literature

Submitted By humd
Words 2360
Pages 10
A fascinating and powerful narrative, “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison, tells the story of two girls, Twyla and Roberta, who share quite a complicated relationship. From the time they meet at St. Bonaventure, an orphanage, at the tender age of eight to when they become adults and start leading lives of their own, they are plagued by their racial, social, and economical differences. One of the most interesting aspects of the short story is the symbolism of Maggie, a disabled woman who works at the orphanage, and the tremendous impact she has on Twyla and Roberta. Numerous critics have analyzed the portrayal of Maggie in the story, and have come to some varied conclusions. In my opinion, as Twyla and Roberta are reunited with one another through the course of their lives, they slowly begin to see and accept that Maggie is a reflection of their mothers, and – to a larger extent – also themselves.
The issues explored in “Recitatif” resonate with many readers on many different levels and, in effect, much has been written and discussed about it. This is largely due to the fact that Morrison has left a lot open to the reader for interpretation. “Revised Memories and Colliding Identities: Absence and Presence in Morrison’s ‘Recitatif’ and Viramontes’s ‘Tears on My Pillow’” by Helane Adams Androne is a very focused critical piece that argues that both central characters have suffer from strained relationships. "Transfiguring Aesthetics: Conflation, Identity Denial, and Transference in “Passing Texts” of Black Narrative" by Tomeiko Ashford and "Toni Morrison and the Burden of the Passing Narrative" by Juda Burnett are both well-written reviews that examine the racial identities of the characters and provide various explanations how the race component affects the story. Last but not least, "Watchers Watching Watchers: Positioning Characters and Readers in Baldwin's 'Sonny's…...

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