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Recitatif - Taylor 1 Gregory Taylor Recitatif Within the...

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Taylor 1 Gregory Taylor Recitatif Within the short story “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison, there is a racial dynamic that separates the two main characters Roberta and Twyla. Though it is not directly indicated which character is of which racial background, Morrison provides a bevy of hints to clue in the reader what their races are. As a main topic for the short story, race plays an important part throughout. Though it is not particularly important to the story which characters are of which race, the fact that the author does not directly address their specific backgrounds makes it a main focus. By including the characters’ lifestyles, thoughts, and even mothers, Morrison leaves it up to the reader to assign their racial identities. Without directly indicating the two main characters’ racial backgrounds, the reader must assess their identities through verbal and non-verbal cues. Such can be seen in Twyla’s description of Roberta, how “everything is so easy for them. They think they own the world.” (Morrison 205). This commentary is used to indicate that Twyla is of a lower class than Roberta and is possibly even used to show that she is at a disadvantage to Roberta in society because of her race. Based on the time this story was written, this can very well be strewn to show that Twyla is of African-American descent. Verbal cues for cultural identity are seen later in a
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