Is the title ironic in "Gorilla, My Love"?

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The title of this excellent short story is ironic in that it draws attention to the story-within-the-story and the common theme of betrayal. The title refers to the film that Hazel was led to believe that she was going to see at the cinema. The fact that she was shown a rather inferior film about Jesus and then a cartoon that she had already seen instead to her represented a betrayal, as the cinema owner had not been true to his word and was not being honest. Her cogent defence of her actions in trying to burn down the cinema spare her a beating from her father.

However, Hazel suffers a similar betrayal at the end of the story when Hunca Bubba tells Hazel he is planning to marry his girlfriend. Because he had told Hazel when she was younger that he was going to marry her, this represents another betrayal to Hazel, as her response clearly shows:

And I'm losin my bearins and don't even know where to look on the map cause I can't see for cryin. And Baby Jason cryin too. Cause he is my blood brother and understands that we must stick together or be forever lost, what with grown-ups playin change-up and turning you round every which way so bad. And don't even say they sorry.

The title is therefore ironic in the way that it points towards a central incident that "proves" to the narrator the inherent deceptiveness of adults towards children. It links the two stories to point towards the way that, from Hazel's perspective, adults are hypocrites and treat children terribly, lying to them without feeling the need to apologise or explain their deceit.

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smartorama's profile pic

smartorama | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

 I wonder if the title, "Gorilla, My Love" also refers to the dual nature of Hazel's character.  One on hand, she is a "gorilla," roaring at those by whom she feels betrayed.  On the other hand, she is also "my ove," as illustrated by the initimate, childlike relationship she has with her "Hunca Bubba," a name she gave to him. Hazel's double sided character also suggests the two themes of the story - the "gorilla-like" actions she is reduced to when betrayed by adults, and the "my love" she feels that she is when she owns and inhabits that child that she is.  Just a thought...

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