Friday, October 17, 2014

What is race?

Black or white was the question that went through my mind as I first read Morrison’s “Recitatif” Is Twyla or Roberta black or white.  I started thinking what would leave me to believe one way or the other and I realized that by making any assumptions you were showing your cultural generalizations.  I think Morrison was very clever in making the reader believe one way or the other without specifically identifying one race.  In the beginning of the story Morrison writes, “It was one thing to be taken out of your own bed early in the morning-it was something else to be stuck in a strange place with a girl from a whole other race.” (Morrison 3541). Nowhere was it identified that the races were black and white. It could have been White, Hispanic, Asian, or black.  Did Morrison deliberately not clarify the races of Twyla and Roberta so that the individual reader would have to define their own stereotypical ideas of race?   In the middle of the story it also seems to take a detour about the characters themselves. Twyla seemed to be the street wise kid where Roberta was the simple-minded naïve girl but later in the story suddenly Roberta is the hardened free-wild child and Twyla is the conservative hardworking waitress. I didn’t know what to make of Maggie and the different version that each remember. Does it show that your interpretation depends on your race?  Twyla remembers Maggie as “Sandy-colored” but Roberta insists that she is black. Why is this significant?


  1. i believe by leaving the assumption up to the reader it makes the reader try to make their own decision and them make the reader question why they came to that conclusion.

  2. Vanessa,
    Which girl did you end up thinking was which race? What specific details led you to that conclusion. Remember we are close reading with this post...