Labels, Empathy, And Inability Essay

1294 Words Nov 29th, 2016 6 Pages
Labels, Empathy, and Inability in Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif” Numerous authors make the decision to write about conflicts that exist within society; issues that audiences can make a connection with and apply the issues to their personal experiences. This method of writing has been effective for years because it is easy for people to engage with the pieces of literature. Through the course of history literature has continuously challenged the socially and psychologically constructed stereotypes in society. Some authors have searched for ways to make their pieces something special, something that is more difficult to read, and something that makes society realize their own destructive tendencies. Toni Morrison attempts to represent and even undermine racial and social discrimination in her short story, “Recitatif”. Morrison’s “Recitatif” is unique in infinite ways, however, the fact that the ethnicity of two main characters is never revealed must be what caught so many literary critics attention. Al though that part of the protagonist identities is left out, Morrison constantly ridicules and interrogates racial stereotypes by employing them in an extreme manner (Kolehmainen 31). The only thing the readers can assume is one is of African American descent and the other Caucasian, Twyla says “we looked like salt and pepper” (book 610). Morrison means for the racial identity to be ambiguous, Kolehmainen states; “Morrison’s strategy of leaving the question of the ethnic…

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