Black People and Roberta

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"Salt and pepper"
An analysis of Recitatif by Toni Morrison

Determining the race of Twyla and Roberta from the clouded descriptions in Recitatif is a rather difficult task. The evidence in my opinion leads me to believe that Roberta is white and that Twyla is black. In this paper I will identify situations in this story that reinforce my opinion. I will also explain how minority group treatment influenced my perception of the events in this story. My early impression of Roberta was that of a spoiled country girl with little or no education that opinion was based on her inability to read and her waste of food at meal times. Finishing all your food is a strong force in many black families this waste can be construed as a connection to Roberta being white. The first verbal indication is Roberta's mother's refusal to greet Twyla's mother Mary. This is a strong image of prejudice in my opinion. Roberta's mother said nothing. She just grabbed Roberta and stepped out of line. Roberta's mother's disinterest in meeting a woman of the opposite race makes a convincing argument that she is white and in her mind better than associating with blacks. In the next scene the families were eating Lunch. Twyla made the observation that "The wrong food is always with the wrong people." And the connection that "Maybe that's why I got into waitress work later-to match up the right people with the right food." There is a common stereotype that black people love chicken. So the white Roberta having the "black" chicken could be considered a Mitch match and since Roberta is white she should not have the chicken. The next piece of evidence comes much later when the two old friends are reunited in a supermarket. They have exchanged pleasantries and discussed how well there lives are going. It is obvious to the reader that Roberta is well off financially. Roberta makes the comment "I was dying to know what happened to her, how she got from Jimi Hendrix to Annandale, a neighborhood full of...
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