Analyzing “Recitatif” Story by Toni Morrison

Discuss the short story “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison.

Why does the author start out the story with Twyla and Roberta as children? With Twyla and Roberta, we have one Afro-American character and one Caucasian-American character. But which character is which? And how did you arrive at your decision? When Twyla says that she and Roberta had to discover “How to believe what had to be believed,” what does she mean? Why does the story continually return to references to the orchard and to Maggie? What is significant in these continual references? What are we to make of the confusion Twyla experiences in her memories of these things?