Gorilla My Love Analysis (They's Just Teasin')

They’s Just Teasin’

Toni Bambara’s Gorilla My Love is a story of good natured deception, a kind that can sometimes be the most dangerous imaginable.   It is the kind that often results in no consequence and, in the minds of its dealers, warrants no apologies.   Strange as it may seem, these “playful deceptions” manifest themselves within the same knowledge implanted in the developing minds of children, who have virtually no way to decipher the importance of Santa Claus’s naughty list from, say,   the validity of gravity.   Hazel, the story’s protagonist, demonstrates a complete reevaluation in character when the very foundations on which her childhood is based are yanked from beneath her like an imitation silk rug.
For the most part of this story, the reader is “playfully” deceived into assuming that Hazel’s character is male.   This conclusion is not only a product of the reader’s preconceived notions of normality, but also a result of Hazel’s upbringing and subsequent lack of obligation to participate in gender roles.   Though much credit must be given to Hazel’s own character, Hazel is brought up with a very logical approach to analyzing truths and their dominance over societal precepts, which is why her “great revelation” later in the story hits so hard.   Hazel, whose self-assurance and “informed” outlook bring about the template of a male, deems herself fortunate enough to never have been subjected to arbitrary doctrines during her development stages.   Because of this, Hazel is able to become the person she is, not the girl she’s supposed to be.
The blessing is short-lived, however, and Hazel is brought to question every fiber of her philosophy.   When Hunca Bubba nonchalantly reveals his “great lie”, Hazel is destroyed.   She is even more taken aback at the lack of reverence and the absence of remorse with which he reveals it.   “It was Hunca Bubba what told you them things”, Hazel’s uncle explains to her, “this here, Jefferson Winston Vale. That’s right . . ....