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Societies’ Corruption

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Societies’ Corruption Within the short stories “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell, the writers focus on the theme of societies’ corruption upon young, developing girls. The authors choose to center their stories on two groups of girls that are changed by their experiences as they mature in and outside group homes. In both stories the diverse group of girls are placed into homes by their parents for entirely different reasons. Despite these reasons the two girls in the story “Recitatif” grow closer while in the home, but the family of werewolf girls, in the story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” grow further apart after they learn the ways of humans. As the girls are influenced by society they grow further apart due to the naturally selfish state of the world and the constant strife between the many cultures that it contains. All of the girls start out pure and untouched by the world and its flaws, but as they are taught to conform to societies expectations they become uncaring towards one another. The main characters of the two stories, Twyla and Claudette, are both placed into group homes by their families for the girl’s betterment. In “Recitatif” Twyla states that she and her friend were taken to St. Bonny’s home because her “… mother danced all night and Roberta’s was sick” (Morrison 201). The two girls bonded over their mother’s mental and physical illnesses, but the relationship between the Caucasian and African-American children soon changed after they both left St. Bonny’s home and were thrown into society during the racial strife of the Civil Rights movement. The werewolf sisters in the story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” came to St. Lucy’s home as a pack, but left as individuals. Claudette at first states that “The pack was worried about Mirabella,” but by the fourth stage she says that “I was worried only about myself. By that stage, I was no longer certain of how the pack felt about anything” (Russell 232, 238). By this time in the program Claudette no longer had a concern for the pack and was solely focused on herself as an individual. It can be seen in both stories that when a child is exposed to the behaviors of society they are no longer concerned with any ones else’s wellbeing or feelings and become distant to what they previously loved.
Toni Morrison and Karen Russell convey the theme of young girls being corrupted by society during the different stages and periods of their lives. The racial tension is not a concern of the girls during their youth in “Recitatif,” but the strife is blatantly apparent after they leave St. Bonny’s home and later were exposed to the thoughts of others during this controversial time in history. Roberta asserts in one of their chance meetings later in life that the only reasons she was rude to Twyla during their first meeting after St. Bonny’s home was because people of different races were not meant to be friends at that time. Twyla seems to be unaware of the conflict between the races saying that she “Thought it was just the opposite. Busloads of blacks and whites came into Howard Johnson’s together” (Morrison 209). Roberta was told how to act toward the opposite race by society, but Twyla was blind to the strife and seems to be the same little girl who left St. Bonny’s home years earlier. The same conflict is apparent in Karen Russell’s story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” The narrator by the third stage states that “… pretending [to be human] felt almost as natural as nature.” The nuns at St. Lucy’s home trained the werewolf girls in the ways of human society and culture, but by the end of the program the girls no longer cared for one another and seemed indifferent towards the pack as a whole.
In conclusion, the authors’ show through their writings the constriction of one’s identity within society. Everyone is taught how to act and behave based on what society expects from them. The girls within “Recitatif” and “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” are similar in their transformation from pure children to adults conformed to worldly human thinking and by the end of both stories the narrators reveal to us that the world is full of disloyalty and lies no matter the circumstance. Morrison and Russell show us within their writings the errors in our current society and how the expectations placed upon the youth can harden their hearts toward the people that cared for them most. Being exposed to the sinful culture of the world caused the girls to abandon the only people who showed them love and affection during the hardest times of their lives.
Works Cited
Morrison, Toni. “Recitatif.” Reading and Writing about Literature. 2013: 201-214. Print.
Russell, Karen “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.” Reading and Writing about Literature. 2013: 229-240. Print.…...

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