Race and Maggie

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Black people, White people Pages: 2 (847 words) Published: November 21, 2006
A great author can show the reader the importance of a situation in their story by repeatedly taking the main characters back to that situation. This is exactly what Toni Morrison does in her short story Recitatif. In the short story Recitatif, she tells a story of two girls, Twyla and Roberta. In her story Morrison allows the reader to know that one is white and one is black but never reveals which girl is white and which one is black. In her story she also brings in another character, Maggie that is remembered by the two girls. Morrison never reveals Maggie's race either. While in St. Bonny's, Twyla and Roberta witness Maggie, a mute, handicapped, older woman get tripped and kicked by some of the older girls. After the two girls get out of the home Morrison has them run into each other several times and a couple of those times the girls begin to realize that they viewed Maggie's race very differently. Morrison uses Maggie for many reasons in her story. She uses her as a symbol of hatred, as a connector as well as a divider between Twyla and Roberta, and also as an image of themselves.

In the story both girls say that although they didn't participate in the cruel activity of kicking Maggie they did nothing to help or stop what was happening. They both admitted to wanting to kick her themselves. These is important because it gives you an idea about what the girls' hated enough to want to hurt someone. First you have to look at the race they each thought she was and the race you assume them to be. Twyla saw Maggie as a white woman. If Twyla was white also then it could explain her hatred to her mother for wanted to dance rather than be with her. She does compare her mother dancing to the bow legs of Maggie. If Twyla was black then it could be a hatred of older white women for taking her out of her home. This could also be the reason she suppressed the whole activity because a black girl could get into a lot of trouble for beating a white girl in...
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