Analysis Of The Book ' Recitatif ' By Toni Morrison Essay

1346 Words Oct 17th, 2016 6 Pages
In Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif,” Twyla Benson retells the story of her time in St. Bonaventure shelter and encounters with Roberta Frisk, but they remember different things each time they reminisce on the past. Twyla finds herself evaluating what really happened in her life, shifting ideas based on her own memories and what Roberta thinks. Her thoughts are ultimately distorted, raising questions on what is actually true. Twyla, as the narrator, tells the story with her own bias, making it difficult to discern the authenticity of each thought or event. Her thoughts, however, are influenced by present events, which can be considered to recognize the reality of a situation. Morrison employs Twyla’s memories to uncover how other characters and events shape a person’s understanding of their past and present. Morrison creates the narration as a recollection of memories to show how Twyla’s memories are corrupted by other characters and events. In each encounter with Roberta, subtle aspects of the past are revealed that were not already revealed in Twyla’s retelling of the story. When they first see each other after separating from St. Bonny’s, Twyla sees Roberta and wonders if, “she didn’t want to be reminded of St. Bonny’s” (Morrison 6), displaying Twyla’s own insecurity of her past. She assumes Roberta does not want to be reminded of that time in her life because of her own hesitancy to share it with other: she does not want anyone to know she was in a shelter as a…

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