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Stepping Out In The Spotlight Essay

1084 words - 5 pages

The two short stories I chose from our class’s readings are A & P by John Updike and Recitatif by Toni Morrison. These stories symbolize many things, although I want to narrow it down and pick one symbol from each of these short stories. The symbolism used in A&P by Toni Morrison is the bathing suit wore by the three girls that step into Sammy’s convenience shop. The symbolism used in Recitatif is when the narrator states were like “salt & pepper”. These symbols are about people who stepped out and strived to be different during their time, the symbols are different from the textual standpoint but they relate to each other in many ways.
Women can make men do crazy things; these girls did exactly that to Sammy! They even made him quit his job without saying a word to him. These three girls were striving to be different; they were the main characters of the story while hardly saying any words. The girls were different because they were striving to be different; they wore their bikini outfits into a convenient shop. What these girls do is they take away the sexual power of the other men and make them act foolish. Quennie being the main girl they all are attracted to takes most the attention of Sammy’s eye just from trying to stand out sexual. Recitatif by Toni Morrison was written during the time of the 1950’s, so racism was still relevant, not fully blown but it was still there hidden in the shadows. The two main characters meet at a child state home they’re names being Twyla and Roberta. Twyla’s mother has passed and Roberta’s mother “dances all night.” Immediately during their first encounter they become good friends. The narrator states, “We were just like salt and pepper”. So right away you can tell that whites and blacks hanging out wasn’t illegal but it was different to say the least! During the story you can never tell who is actually white or black. One of the last times Roberta and Twyla met was at a racial strike, Roberta’s race actually gives Twyla a really hard time and Roberta doesn’t come to help her. This really puts a wrench in Twyla and Roberta’s relationship.

Symbolism is taking something passed the literal meaning, that’s exactly what these two things do. Realistically both of these things come to down to just the color of someone’s skin or an article of clothing. Both of these symbols are people who are heavily watched. In A&P these girls are watched because of their pure beauty, In Recitatif both Roberta and Twyla were famous opera singers. A&P was written in 1932 so these girls were stepping out into the spotlight for all women, during this time women were disregarded as not important as men. They were viewed to be not as useful then men. Women in the 1930’s women usually wore mid size long skirts or non-reveling clothes. This was a time during the great depression so it was hard for women to afford nice clothes, so in some occasions they made it themselves....

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