For the young Twyla, as she watched the "gar girls" kick Maggie, Maggie was her mother — stingy and unresponsive, neither hearing Twyla nor communicating anything important to her.Just as Maggie resembles a child, Twyla's mother seems incapable of growing up.
What are the sources of the characters’ troubled relationship?
What do those struggles have to do with race or social class?
" The reader is left wondering not just about the answer, but also about the meaning of the question.
Is it asking what happened to Maggie after the children left the orphanage?
If the girls are cruel, perhaps it's because every girl in the shelter is also an outsider, shut out from the mainstream world of families taking care of children, so they turn their scorn toward someone who is even further in the margins than they are.
As children whose parents are alive but can't or won't take care of them, Twyla and Roberta are outsiders even within the shelter.
Is it asking what happened to her while they were there, given that their memories conflict? Or is it a larger question, asking what happened not just to Maggie, but to Twyla, Roberta, and their mothers?
Twyla, the narrator, twice mentions that Maggie had legs like parentheses, and that's a good representation of the way Maggie is treated by the world.
The older girls exploit Maggie's vulnerability, mocking her.
Even Twyla and Roberta call her names, knowing she can't protest and half-convinced she can't even hear them.