? the first encounter
? Twyla,whose name suggests a famous dancer,Twyla Tharp,and Roberta Fisk first
met within the confines of a state home for children,St.Bonny's,because each has
been take away from her mother. Roberta's mother is sick, Twyla's mother" just likes to dance all night".The girls look different from one another:one is black,one
is white.Despite their initially hostile feelings, they are drawn together because of
thier similar circumstances.They turn out to be"more alike than unlike".The eightyear-old girls were both dumped there. They become allies against the "the big
girls on the second floor",as well as against the home's"real orphans",the childran
whose parents have died.
? Twyla and Roberta are reminded of their differences on the Sunday that each of their mothers come to visit and attend church with them.Twyla's mother Mary is dressed inappropriately;Roberta's mother refuses to shake Mary's hand.Twyla experiences humiliations:her mother's inappropriate bahavior shames her and she feels slighted by Roberta's mother's refusal.
the second encounter
? Twyla and Roberta meet again eight years later during the 1960s, when Twyla is working the counter at the Howard Johnson's on the Thruway and Roberta is setting in a booth with two man smothered in head and facial hair.Roberta and her friends are on their way to the west coast to keep an appointment with Jimi Hendrix. The episode is brief, but long enough to make Twyla feel like an outsider in Roberta's world.
the third encounter
? The third time Twyla and Roberta meet is 20 years after they first met at St.Bonny's. They are both married and met while shopping at the Food Emporium, a new gourmet grocery store.They get along well and share memories of the past. Roberta is rich and Twyla is lowermiddle-class.Twyla is married to a firefighter, Roberta is married to an IBM executive.
the fourth encounter
? The next time the two women meet,''racial strife" threatens Twyla's town of Newburgh,NY in the form of busing.As she drives by the school,Twyla sees Roberta there,picketing the forced integration.Twyla is birefly threated by the other protesters;Roberta doesn't come to her aid.And Twyla joined the counter-picketing across the street from Roberta, where she spends a few days hoisting signs that respond directly to Roberta's sign.
the fifth encounter
? Twyla and Roberta meet once more, this time it is in a coffee shop at Christmas eve, years later,probably in the early 1980s. Roberta wants to discuss what she last said about Maggie.The conversation is sympathetic but ends on unresolved note——what happened to Maggie? Recitatif ends with their reconciliation.
? 1) Race and Racism ? The issue of race and racism is central to the story. Twyla’s first response to rooming with Roberta at St.Bonny’s is to feel sick to her stomach. Thoughtout the story Twyla and Roberta’s friendship is inhabited by this
sense of an uncrossable racial divide, played out against the background of national racial tension such as the busing crisis. Racial conflicts provide the main turning points in the story’s plot. Race divided Roberta and Twyla again and again ,and Morrison’s unconventional approach to character description suggest that it is the way that black and white are defined against each other that
? The story also works to make a more general point about how differences among people are understood. Though there are people of many races living in the U.S. and even many people of mixed racial background, race is often understand in terms of a black-white difference. At one point Twyla comments on her protest sign slogan, admitting that “actually my sign didn’t make sense without Roberta’s ” . this may be understood as a metaphor for the idea of difference that Morrison expresses in the story. The signs or codes used to suggest Twyla’s race don’t make sense without an opposing set of signs or codes that define Roberta in
? Twyla and Roberta’s relationship gives shape to the plot of the story, which traces their interactions over more than twenty years. The story explores the possibilities and failures of their friendship.