Recitatif Essay

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In the following essay, Goldstein-Shirley explores the ambiguity of the two protagonists' races in "Recitatif," saying it necessitates a closer and more careful reading of the story for the reader.

Like all of her fiction, the only short story ever published by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison challenges its readers. From its outset, "Recitatif" keeps its readers off-balance. Its plot enigmas, language tricks, and story line gaps disturb readers, prodding them out of lazy reading and complacency and into fuller, deeper engagement with the text. These unusual textual elements push readers to solve the mysteries, fill in the gaps, and thereby complete the story. By participating in making meaning out of the text, readers experience the story on a more visceral level than they otherwise would. Furthermore, they respond on a meta-analytical level, encouraged to consider why the text's elements influenced their responses in particular ways. By using such...

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This section contains 3,979 words
(approx. 10 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Recitatif Study Guide
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Recitatif from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.