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What the Hell happened to Maggie?

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Society tries to be aware of people with disabilities, but it is still an uncomfortable concept for a lot of people, especially amongst adolescents who have trouble understanding the concept at all. But, as children grow more mature, more of them can cope. In this story ‘Recitatif”, by Tomi Morrison, she includes a lot of controversial themes. One theme which is having to do with people with disabilities, she uses the character Maggie to bring disability awareness to two young girls, Twyla and Roberta. Twyla and Roberta’s childhood ignorance allows them to disregard Maggie’s disabilities and judge her for being different, but as they mature, their realization of her disabilities fill the girls with pity and remorse.

To begin with, Twyla is the protagonist in the story. The story is about two young girls who live in the shelter and faces some problems while living there. Also, after leaving the shelter, they have unexpected encounters while transitioning into their adult lives. There are many other themes in the story and some of them are blurred to the audience, but one thing Tomi Morrison makes very clear is that the two girls are different races. We “Looked like salt and pepper standing there” (para-), by saying this Twyla reveals this to the audience. However, she does not clear the race of the girl.

Secondly, Racial acceptance is perhaps the most popular topic discussed from this story. By reading this story, I think that Twyla and Roberta always seem to overcome their difference, but Twyla’s mother had told her that Roberta “kind” “never washed their hair and they smelled funny” (para-). In addition to racial acceptance, Morrison include one more theme is that the people with disabilities which is equally important. This theme is the best to describing the character Maggie, which is mute and deaf lady which worked and always making lunch at the shelter where Twyla and Roberta living. Like Twyla and Roberta, Morrison does not clear that Maggie is disabled but she just provides stereotypes to give the hint to the audience. When describing Maggie Twyla say that

“Maggie could not talk”, her legs were like parentheses and she rocked when she walked” and “she wore this really stupid little- hat- a kid’s hat with ear flaps – and she wasn’t much taller than we were”. (para-).

According to the Twyla’s description we cannot labelling Maggie as disabled, but we can eventually mention that Maggie is sure mute, and which is physical disability. as there is no clarification about Maggie’s character so she is still a mystery. However, so many people thought and imagine the Maggie character by their own interpretation.

Lastly, just like other author that have read “Recitatif” imaging Maggie as their own interpretation. So, I have also formed my own clarification of Maggie’s purpose. Maggie’s disability is the tool of growth for Twyla and Roberta in the story. Morrison is able to mature Twyla and Roberta’s understanding of Maggie’s condition by making their arguments and memories of Maggie more complex and revealing. When girls meet Maggie first time they know something is different in Maggie, but they do not understand it and they always seem to insult her and calling her “dummy” and “How legs” (para-). But, after they grown up and understand their mistakes so, Twyla reminds Roberta, “we are kids, Roberta” and Roberta replies “Yeah. Yeah. I know, just kids”. So, for me Morrison use Maggie’s disabilities very effectively, not to show Twyla and Roberta mature but audience as well.

To conclude, Morrison greatly include the topic disabilities in the story “Recitatif”, weather Twyla and Roberta show the sympathy towards Maggie or not, but they still feel guilty about how she was treated in the shelter. So, for me “Recitattif” is the very interesting and memorable story for me.

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