“Recitatif” is a short story written by Toni Morrison. It was first published in 1983. It follows the story of Twyla and Roberta, who first met as children in an orphanage and keep bumping into each other throughout their lives.
What makes this short story so intriguing and interesting is the fact that the reader is never fully able to find out what the ethnic background of Twyla and Roberta, the two protagonists of the story, truly is. While the author does provide hints throughout the story, she never actually reveals the answer to this question but instead leaves it open to interpretation.
In fact, at the very beginning of this short story, in the first paragraph, it is not even clear that Roberta and Twyla are of a different race and class at all. The reader just learns that the two girls are in an orphanage because “[Twyla’s] mother danced all night and Roberta's was sick.” This statement could relate to any class or race.
However, the first main clue that there is a racial...
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