Published as part of the collection Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women in 1983, "Recitatif" is the only short story composed by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison. The story is a fictional account of two girls who meet at a children’s shelter and their subsequent encounters throughout their lives. Morrison intentionally omits the girls’ respective races, only indicating that one is white and one is Black. By obscuring the girls’ races, Morrison asks readers to explore their unconscious biases surrounding racial stereotypes and assumptions.


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See a complete list of the characters in “Recitatif” and in-depth analyses of Twyla, Roberta, and Maggie.

Literary Devices

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Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of “Recitatif” by learning more about Toni Morrison, historical context for the story, and other works on SparkNotes by Toni Morrison.