Black People and Roberta S Race
The Forgery of a Friendship Toni Morrison uses class codes to describe the main characters in her short story, “Recitatif.” Morrison made it a point to not use racial codes. Within doing this she is “forced as a writer not to be lazy” (Shappell). In the interview with Shappell, Morrison explains that the two girls are different races, one white and one black. The catch is that you are not sure which one is white and which one is black. The style is used to make the reader think. Morrison had to write about the girls in a complex manner, “Soon as I say, ‘Black woman…’ I can rest on or provoke predictable responses, but if I leave it out then I have to talk about her in a complicated way – as a person.” There is meant to be a sense of
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Twyla described Maggie as “old and sandy-colored” (611). Roberta was convinced that Maggie was black. Later on in the book we found out that Roberta knew that Maggie was not black. She just wanted her to be though. During the third occurrence where Twyla and Roberta meet, outside of the school, Roberta says to Twyla “Maybe I am different now, Twyla, But you’re not. You’re the same little state kid who kicked a poor old black lady when she was down on the ground. You kicked a black lady and you have the nerve to call me a bigot” (620). Roberta was lying to herself about what Maggie was. She drilled it into her brain so much that she began to believe it herself. Roberta saw Maggie as a mentally handicapped person.
Maggie reminds Twyla of her mother. She cannot help herself and no one can help here. She loathed her mother and therefore she also did not want to like Maggie because she did not want to be reminded of her. Because she made the connection between the two she cannot like her. Twyla knows that she did not engage in the beating and degradation of the kitchen woman, but she explains that she wanted to. This is important because we see her equate her mother to Maggie. One of the times that Roberta and Twyla were outside in the orchard “the gar girls pushed her down, and started roughhousing, I knew she wouldn’t scream, couldn’t – just like me – and I was glad about that” (621). She felt that she did not have a voice in the