Reply To: Toni Morrison, “Recitatif”

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#982
abeach99
Participant

I found this work by Toni Morrison to be a great and insightful reading experience. Several moments in this reading stuck out to me. One of these was early on in the story, when Twyla describes Maggie. She’s labeled as a “mute,” and Twyla and Roberta call her names such as “Dummy” and “Bow legs” (3). This moment was interesting to me, because it emphasizes how people stigmatize those with disabilities. Although we have talked more about illness than disability in this course, disability is a crucial aspect of many people’s experience with illness. Seeing these characters stigmatize a disabled character, especially considering they are children, is insightful in how disabled characters are treated in society.

Another moment is at the end of the story, when Twyla and Roberta are adults and they discuss what happened to Maggie. Roberta says, “I just remember her as old, so old. And because she couldn’t talk- well, you know, I thought she was crazy. She’d been brought up in an institution like my mother was and like I thought I would be too…I really wanted them to hurt her…I wanted to do it so bad that day-wanting to is doing it,” (19). When reading this passage, I thought about how people who are sick and/or disabled are often perceived solely as their sickness/disability. Rather than view them as people, they become their illness/disability. They are rejected by non-ill/able-bodied people because they fear the illness, and consequently the ill person.

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