For example, they enjoyed spying on the big girls who liked to smoke and dance, and sadly got a laugh out of yelling mean things at Maggie, the woman who couldn't defend herself because she was mute. One of the last times the girls saw each other in the orphanage was the day of the picnic. Shortly after the picnic Roberta's mother came to take her home, marking the first small fracture in their friendship. The next time they saw each other was years later in the restaurant that Twyla worked. Roberta acts coldly towards Roberta partly because she was high off Continue reading this essay Continue reading.
Toggle navigation MegaEssays. Saved Essays. Topics in Paper. Example Essays. Continue reading this essay Continue reading Page 1 of 4. Another hint of each girls race is the depiction of each of their mothers. Twyla s mom, Mary, wore tight green slacks and a ratty fur jacket with the pocket linings so ripped she had to pull to get her hands out of them. Roberta s mom was quite different.
She was big. Bigger than any man and on her chest was the biggest cross [that Twyla had] ever seen and in the crook of her arm was the biggest Bible ever made. Twyla s mom did not bring any food for the lunch so they had to eat the candy that Tywla had in her basket.
Roberta s mom brought chicken legs and ham sandwiches and oranges and a whole box of chocolate-covered grahams. Roberta drank milk from a thermos while her mother read the Bible to her. This does not necessarily describe any of the girls races, however, with the stereotype of each race at the time, Twyla would seem to be the poor, black girl, while Roberta was the comfortable white girl.
However, this is contradictory to the previous conclusion of their races. This is furthermore supported by the disgust that Roberta s mom seemed to show toward Twyla s mom when she tried to shake her hand. Twyla s mom also reacted by ranting and calling names.
Once again, based on a stereotype, black women are very outspoken and when they are offended, they make sure everyone knows it. Twyla s mom would have kept it up, if [Twyla] hadn t squeezed her hand as hard as [she] could. This brings up an interesting point. Twyla seems to carry the role of the responsible mother while her own mother exhibits childish behavior. When she first saw Twyla, [Tywla s mom] smiled and waved like she was the little girl looking for her mother not me, her daughter.
Also, simple-minded Mary was not too swift when it comes to what s really going on. It s as though Mary was the na ve child being watched over by her mother. After the little rant, Mary even acts like a child, still [twitching] and [crossing and uncrossing] her legs all through the service. Even [groaning] a few times. Following this incident in the story, Twyla encounters Roberta in Howard Johnson s. Roberta [is] sitting with two guys smothered in head and facial hair.
Her own hair [is] so big and wild [that Twyla] could hardly see her face. This implies to me a sort of Afro hairstyle for both Roberta and her escorts. Even her clothing and jewelry seen to suggest that she is black. She [has] on a powder-blue halter and shorts outfit and earrings the size of bracelets, similar to the earrings worn by African women.
She is also on her way to see Jimi Hendrix, a black musician, and snubs Twyla for not knowing who he is. Though this is not entirely indicative of a black person, it is more likely to be a black person. This once again contradicts the previous conclusion of Roberta s race. The line between who is black and who is white gets very hard to distinguish. On their next encounter, Twyla and Roberta are both married.
Twyla s husband, James Benson, has a big loud family. From my meager history, I seem to associate Benson as a black name based on the show The Bensons, an 80s sitcom about a black family. Generally, black families are big and loud, however, this is again based on a stereotype that is portrayed in movies, television, and media. Twyla s husband s family feels like this welfare area of Newburgh is some upstate paradise of a time long past.
Again, the poverty implies a black background, especially with James working as a fireman, not one of the most upscale jobs at the time. In Roberta s case, she [dresses] to kill. Diamonds on her hand, a smart white summer dress.
The seemingly-more intelligent and prosperous Roberta is married to a man who lives in a neighborhood full of doctors and IBM executives. Once again, the analogy of smart to ignorant, and rich to poor is applied to imply that Roberta is white and Twyla is black. Furthermore, Tywla has the thoughts in her head that everything is so easy for them. They think they own the world.
This is definitely showing of a black idea toward a white person. However, this is where the distinction between them gets even less apparent. They both seem to be on the same level when they start to reminisce about their days in the orphan shelter. They both had embarrassing mothers, one of which who wore a cross like two telephone poles and the other with tight slacks. Both were small-town country girls.
As they speak though, the line begins to appear once again. Roberta has two servants and a Chinaman as her chauffeur. When Roberta brings up what she thought happened to Maggie back then, she blames Twyla for [blocking] it out of her mind. It s as if Twyla is trying to block a bad memory of a black woman, similar to her, having a traumatic experience.
When Twyla mentions how harshly Roberta treated her at Howard Johnson s, Roberta responds by saying, Oh, Twyla, you know how it was in those days: black white. You know how everything was. Roberta was trying to say that whites were supposed to treat blacks that way or blacks were supposed to treat whites that way.
This leaves it a bit ambiguous until Twyla thinks that blacks were friendly with whites in those days to contradict Roberta s statement. This could only mean that Roberta was a black woman being mean to a white woman, in order to contradict Roberta s statement. During the next passage, Twyla s son, Joseph, is on the list of kids to be transferred from the junior high school to another one at some far-out-of-the-way place. This implies the segregation of schools by sending the blacks to go farther away so the whites could have the closer school to themselves.
However, this idea of Twyla being black based on this detail is disproved when we find out that Roberta s are being bussed too. The whites set up this bussing procedure. When Twyla and Roberta discuss the bussing, Roberta says, It s a free country. Twyla comes back by saying, Not yet, but it will be. Obviously offended, Roberta retorts with, What the hell does that mean?