Is it asking what happened to Maggie after the children left the orphanage? Is it asking what happened to her while they were there, given that their memories conflict? Is it asking what happened to make her mute? Or is it a larger question, asking what happened not just to Maggie, but to Twyla, Roberta, and their mothers? She is like something parenthetical, an aside, cut off from the things that really matter. Maggie is also mute, incapable of making herself heard.
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Is it asking what happened to Maggie after the children left the orphanage? Is it asking what happened to her while they were there, given that their memories conflict? Is it asking what happened to make her mute? Or is it a larger question, asking what happened not just to Maggie, but to Twyla, Roberta, and their mothers? She is like something parenthetical, an aside, cut off from the things that really matter.
Maggie is also mute, incapable of making herself heard. Memory As Twyla and Roberta encounter each other sporadically through the years, their memories of Maggie seem to play tricks on them. One remembers Maggie as black, the other as white, but eventually, neither feels sure.
Later, at the height of their argument over school busing, Robert claims that she and Twyla participated, too, in kicking Maggie. She yells that Twyla "kicked a poor old black lady when she was down on the ground Roberta concludes that wanting to was the same as actually doing it.
The "mother" is punished for refusing to grow up, and she becomes as powerless to defend herself as Twyla is, which is a kind of justice. And over the years, the memory of Maggie becomes a weapon that Roberta uses against Twyla.
It is only when they are much older, with stable families and a clear recognition that Roberta has achieved greater financial prosperity than Twyla, that Roberta can finally break down and wrestle, at last, with the question of what happened to Maggie.
The Meaning of Maggie in Toni Morrison's 'Recitatif'
Summary Analysis Twyla, the narrator, explains that she and Roberta were in a shelter called St. She and Roberta shared a room with four beds, and the two girls slept in a different bed every night. Their children, meanwhile, are resilient, finding opportunities for play despite the odds. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations The relationship between the two girls, however, did not get off to a good start. The reader cannot be sure if they are prejudiced toward white people or black people, a fact that points to the arbitrary social construction of race and racism in the first place. This in turn forces the reader to confront their own assumptions and prejudices about race. Twyla mentions that the only thing Roberta was good at was jacks.
When they are initially introduced they do not get along. Eventually, the girls begin to bond over the fact that they understand each other without asking questions. They are also forced together by the fact that they are excluded from the rest of the children at St. The older girls hang out in the orchard, where they listen to the radio and dance. She is mute and possibly deaf, and has bow legs that cause her to rock and sway as she walks. The story jumps eight years ahead in time.
About[ edit ] "Recitatif" is the French form of recitative , a style of musical declamation that hovers between song and ordinary speech, particularly used for dialogic and narrative interludes during operas and oratories. An obsolete sense of the term was also "the tone or rhythm peculiar to any language. Bonaventure , because each has been taken away from her mother. Despite their initially hostile feelings, they are drawn together because of their similar circumstances.