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Toni Morrison : Recitatif & Racial Identities Revisited - Essay Example

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As the reader, one has enough mental exercises to engage in and be on the analytical mode throughout, while reading Recitatif by Toni Morrison. She throws the challenge to the reader from the outset and takes one to the unchartered paths as for the subject of racism…
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Toni Morrison : Recitatif & Racial Identities Revisited

Download file to see previous pages... Can the two races walk together? Is the unity of hearts ever possible between the blacks and whites? Without being judgmental Toni Morrison argues that racism may not exist in the articles of the Constitution of America, but in terms of societal dispositions, its impact is still evident in all segments of the American society.
Racism baffles definition and each one sees it in a different perspective. Without mention of a verbal utterance, racial slur may show its presence even in gestures. Racial dynamics is highlighted at its best in the story. The story concludes with the question, ‘‘What the hell happened to Maggie?” (Morrison 2698) puts the reader for resolution of the issue and the author stands apart. An undercurrent of racial element is seen in the import of this expression, the nostalgic memory of Maggie, evokes instant sympathy. One recalls the plight of this mute woman who works in the kitchen in the orphanage where the story’s two main characters Roberta and Twyla, are being brought up.
American racial history is studded with racial conflicts, in both violent and subtle acts of day to day disposition. For a sensitive black individual such subtle taunts and expressions with dual meaning hurt more. With the characterisation of Maggie and these two women Toni Morrison provides the graphic description of the race trends obtaining in America. Maggie’s role is like the mute witness in the eternal proceedings in a court of law on the topic of racism.The undefined childhood memory relates to Maggie figuratively and literally turns out to be the conflict zone between the friendship of Twyla and Roberta. This is the intrinsic worth of the story. Gender takes the backseat in the narrations. Both the protagonists are female. Their meeting place is a home for the female, St. Bonny’s orphanage, and no one but the females reside there. An insignificant looking incident that takes place to which both the girls are eye-witnesses, proves to be the constant irritation to their psyche, perspectives of their reasoning, and in brief, to their future lives. Both of them do not have the correct understanding about Maggie, and have no contact with her after leaving the orphanage. What haunts them is the memory of bowlegged Maggie falling down on the street, while making efforts to catch the bus in a hurry. The issue of Maggie’s accidental fall comes to the fore and becomes the topic of discussion and attains new sociological dimensions, every time the girls happen to meet one another in adulthood. Maggie does not interact directly in the story; she is just the memory of both the former occupants of the orphanage. She is the symbol around which their companionship and perspectives in life evolve. The life of Maggie, her trials and tribulations in the falling incident, has direct bearing on their similarities and differences. Toni Morrison’s effort to deconstruct racism and her invitation to the reader in the process of deconstruction is the important strategy of the story. From this point of view the quality of the story is distinctively “oral.” Its mission is to demystify racism. As Twyla and Roberts disagree about the merits of the incident in the orchard, the reader is right there with his own ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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