“Recitatif”, by Toni Morrison, is a profound narrative that I believe is meant to invite readers to search for a buried connotation of the experiences that the main characters, Twyla and Roberta, face as children and as they are reunited as adults. Some of the story’s values and meanings involving race, friendship and abandonment begin to emerge as the plot thickens; however, more messages become hidden and remain unrecognized, even until the very last sentence. From the very first paragraph of the narrative, I noticed that there were several details that the narrator mentioned that required further, deeper thought. For me, this is what made the story appealing. At the beginning of the story, Twyla introduces her mother as Mary and claims that she was placed at St. Bonny’s because her mother “danced all night.” By calling her mother by her first name, Twyla reveals that she doesn’t really consider Mary as her mother.
I believe Twyla’s feelings toward her mother play an important role in the way she reacts to the experiences she faces throughout the rest of the story. Her comments and actions when Mary visits her show that she is somewhat ashamed of her mother and by the fact that she chose to abandon her, unlike the “real orphans with beautiful dead parents in the sky” (468).
This draws a connection between Twyla and Roberta; since Roberta’s mother is still living too, they both feel as though they share something with Porter 2 each other that the other orphans wouldn’t understand. The incident with Maggie is also tied in with Twyla’s relationship with her mother. I discovered towards the end of the story that she considered Maggie her “dancing mother” (480), and she wanted to kick her because she knew she couldn’t scream, and that would be her way of getting even and making her mother feel the way she did — helpless and alone.
... because the story was three girls, it can be closely associated to "Girl" where the mother uses ... Furthermore, the mother in "Girl" acted as a more dominating figure as the whole story showed to ... state between Britain and the Caribbean, the mother favored British lifestyle and all that was ... be more of a monologue than a dialogue between the two. The words coming out of her mother ...
I believe that Twyla had the impression that her mother was racist, and that this was the basis for Twyla being against racism. At first, Twyla was a little uneasy about being stuck in a room with someone of another race and she had stated that her mother wouldn’t like her being placed with Roberta and that “they never washed their hair and they smelled funny” (467).
But I think that she soon realized that her mother was “nobody who could tell you anything important that you could use” (480).
She grew a strong relationship with Roberta, and race meant nothing to her — “it didn’t matter that (they) looked liked salt and pepper” (468).
The significance of the role Twyla’s mother plays is just one twist to the way in which the story can be read. This makes the meaning of the story different to every reader.
My interpretation of the details left by the author can be completely different to interpretations of someone else, and there are probably deeper meanings to the story that I didn’t even come across. This characteristic is what made this narrative unique and interesting for me to read. Works Cited New Worlds of Literature. 2 nd Edition. New York: W.
W. Norton and Company, 1994 (pp 467-482).