Recitatif Metaphors and Similes

Recitatif Metaphors and Similes

Metaphor for freedom

Twyla mentions that some older girls liked to dance when they thought no one was watching. Twyla and Roberta developed the habit of looking at the girls while they were dancing but unfortunately, when the two were caught by the older girls, they were beaten by them. Dancing is used here as a metaphor for freedom and in the time when the story takes place, the only way a woman could be free is through dance. Because of this, dancing is presented in a negative light and those who indulged in the practice were punished for it.

The trees and an infirm beggar woman

Twyla describes the orchard where the older girls at the orphanage used to play and also the trees in the orchard. The trees were compared with a beggar woman who had deformed legs and who was shunned by everyone who knew her. The comparison has the purpose here of showing just how dismal the environment in which the girls lived really was and how hard it was for them to lead a normal life.

Like a shelter

Years after leaving the orphanage where Twyla meet Roberta, Twyla began working at a small diner as a waitress. Twyla compares the orphanage with a shelter, especially during the night, a place where Twyla felt safe and protected. The association is somehow strange but this shows just how little stability Twyla had in her life and how the most unlikely of places became a safe place for her.

As a house slipper

After meeting with Roberta again in the diner, the narrative jumps a few years forward, when Twyla is happily married and living with her husband. In that scene, Twyla described her husband and compares him with a comfortable house slipper. The comparison is important because it shows that Twyla was now comfortable with her life and it highlights the idea that she is now happy together with her dear husband.

Like the old days

During an uprising, Twyla is caught in her car while black women attack it. In that moment, Twyla reaches for Roberta who is sitting nearby, just like she would in the old days when she was at the orphanage and when the girls would rely on one another for protection. Roberta refuses to help Twyla and the comparison thus is used here to show just how much Twyla’s and Roberta’s relationship was affected in time by various elements.

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