Asked by: Ouadia Peeira
books and literature fiction

What is the purpose of Maggie in Recitatif?

Last Updated: 23rd April, 2021

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Maggie can be seen as a symbol representing Roberta and Twyla's mothers. Both are in some way responsible for the girls being brought up in a children's home: Roberta's mom is responsible because she is ill and cannot cope, and Twyla's mom is responsible because she appears to have mental health issues.

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Keeping this in view, why is Maggie so important in Recitatif?

Maggie also represents the two main characters mother's. Maggie is also the last person we are left thinking about at the end of the story. She has a connection with all the characters in the story and that is why she is important. Maggie is used to represent Roberta and Twyla's mothers.

Subsequently, question is, what does Maggie represent for Twyla? In "Recitatif," Maggie represents the "outsider." The way she is treated by both the big kids and by Twyla and Roberta represents the individual whose voice is marginalized.

Also to know, what is the purpose of Recitatif?

Maggie's purpose in the story "Recitatif" is an external realization of Twyla and Roberta's internal struggles with race, abandonment and maternal figures.

What does Recitatif mean in the story?

"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. "Recitatif" is a story in racial writing, as the race of Twyla and Roberta are debatable.

Related Question Answers

Rustam Germade

Professional

What is the conflict in Recitatif?

Conflict. The story centers around the anonymous racial identities of the two girls and how they affect their different point of views on Maggie's situation. The girls grow up and live in the same area but struggle with different issues because of society's perception on that race.

Riad Moscardo

Professional

What is the theme in Recitatif?

Like all of Morrison's work, “Recitatif” centers questions of racial identity, community, and prejudice. Unusually, however, the races of the three main characters are deliberately kept mysterious. The reader is told that one of Twyla and Roberta is black and the other is white, however it is unclear which is which.

Gus Keen

Professional

What does Twyla mean?

Twyla is an old English name. Twy is for two or double. The name means woven of two threads or strength. Famous real-life people named Twyla. Twyla Tharp: American dancer and choreographer.

Jie Munzel

Explainer

Which character is black in Recitatif?

However, the author, Toni Morrison, leaves the race of the two main characters, Twyla and Roberta, completely hidden. The story does present that one is white and one is black and that their lives take place during times of tense race relations, but the girls seem to make the friendship work while they are young.

Jason Slesinger

Explainer

What is Maggie's disability in Recitatif?

Maggie's disabilities—she is mute and possibly deaf, with “legs like parentheses”—make her even more vulnerable than the children at St. Bonny's. She is mysterious, and the characters in the story all have different ideas about her. The other children claim her tongue was cut out, but Twyla doesn't believe them.

Natisha Neuenkirchen

Explainer

Why did Morrison write Recitatif?

Toni Morrison used her short story “Recitatif” to show an author could write a political statement and engage the reader at the same time to take a look at their own racial prejudices on the issue. Her experiment to remove racial identity from the characters of story and to remove gender bias was a great undertaking.

Yanira Rovirosa

Pundit

What does the orchard symbolize in Recitatif?

Symbol: The Orchard
Thus, the orchard, with its twisted, bent trees, symbolizes Maggie and the trauma wrought on her body; as Maggie is a stand-in for the girls' mothers, the orchard is also a more general symbol of trauma and stunted growth.

Jonahtan Godos

Pundit

What is sweetness by Toni Morrison about?

The short story “Sweetness” by Toni Morrison is about a mother's struggle to accept her own daughter. The story develops as the daughter becomes highly successful in life and her mother, "sweetness" begins to feel remorse for the way she treated her child.

Telm Liebermann

Pundit

What happened to Maggie when she was a child?

Severely burned in a house fire when she was a child, her scarred, ugly appearance hides her sympathetic, generous nature. She lives at home and is protected by Mama, remaining virtually untouched by the outside world.

Keisy Ludgrove

Pundit

When was sweetness written?

"Sweetness," a short story by Toni Morrison, was published February 2, 2015 in The New Yorker. It is only the second short story that Morrison has ever published. The story explores themes of motherhood and follows one mother's journey in her struggle to accept her daughter.

Juhani Bobo

Pundit

When did Toni Morrison write Recitatif?

Toni Morrison's short story, "Recitatif," appeared in 1983 in "Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women." It is Morrison's only published short story, though excerpts of her novels have sometimes been published as stand-alone pieces in magazines, such as "Sweetness," excerpted from her 2015 novel "God Help

Tsonka Sertels

Teacher

What does Roberta's husband do for a living?

Roberta's husband. He is very wealthy and is involved with computers. He has four children from a past marriage.