Identify indirect and direct characters in Toni Morrison's "Recitatif." 

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order to clarify the question, I have purposely left it as it is. I did this because I found it necessary to define a very specific idea: characters in texts are not direct or indirect. Instead, characterizations are defined as either direct or indirect. 

An indirect characterization is where the author only provides hints about who a character is (defined through actions, dialogue, and personal thoughts). Readers must infer (make an educated guess) about the character based upon this masked information. 

In a direct characterization, the author tells the reader exactly what a character is like. The reader is not required to read into any dialogue, actions, or private thoughts in order to define the character. Instead, the author tells the reader exactly who the character is. 

Toni Morrison's "Recitatif" provides both direct and indirect characterizations. An example of direct characterization is " we were eight years old and got F's all the time." This tells readers exactly how old the girls are and that they are not very good in school. An example of an indirect characterization is "we looked like salt and pepper." Here, the reader comes to the conclusion that one girl is white, and one girl is black. Morrison does not come right out and say this. Instead, she uses a metaphor to illustrate the race of the girls. 

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