Recitatif

A Grammatical Analysis of Toni Morrison’s Recitatif College

Societally, most individuals enjoy believing that they are without bias. Whether it be gender, race, disability, or religion, everyone has preconceived notions about select people groups. While this can be difficult to admit, Toni Morrison constructs her short story, Recitatif, in a manner which forces her readers to face their biases and stereotypes. Through the use of devices such as non-standard English, intentional pronouns, unusual sentence structure, modals, unique punctuation, and direct speech, Morrison portrays societal challenges based on race, socioeconomic status, and disability, arguing the importance of understanding and protecting people different from ourselves. The word recitatif relates to speech and is thought of as a medium between song and ordinary spoken word. Morrison emulates this concept of an oral tale through the use of non-standard English in the form of fragment sentences. This colloquial structure creates the illusion that the narrator is talking, recounting her past and pondering the events that happened. In addition, the use of fragments disrupts the paragraphs and calls attention to the information these fragments contain. Because it is not traditional to use fragments in professional writing,...

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