Twyla vs. Hazel
Early adolescence is one of the most confusing and challenging stages of childhood. It is an age that is too young to be grown, but too grown to be young. Adolescents feel as though they are of the same maturity level as the adults that they idolize, and quickly get frustrated when they are not perceived as such. Morrison and Bambara have written two, very easily relatable stories of a couple of girls who are stuck right in the middle of this very struggle. The characters Hazel and young Twyla bare resemblance in numerous ways. Both young ladies are very young, have very naïve views of the world, and have been disappointed by an adult in their lives.
In Recitatif, Twyla’s young age is revealed early on: “We were eight years old and got F’s all the time.” (Morrison 130) Hazel’s youth becomes evident in Gorilla, My Love when she refers to the adults around her by saying, “Grownups figure they can treat you just anyhow.” (Bambara 295) She also shows her age when she acts the way she does in the movie theatre, shouting at the matron and throwing popcorn on page 295. The age of both girls plays a vital role in their reactions to things that happen to them as the stories progress. It is easy to imagine both of them attending the same school, being in the same class, and possibly having interest in the same things.
Due in large part to their ages, both Twyla and Hazel have a very naïve and childish view of the world. Subjects and social queues that seem simple to most adults are misunderstood or made simplistic by the girls. When referring to her mother on page 130, Twyla remarks, “She just likes to dance all night.” (Morrison) What Twyla thinks of as dancing all of the time, many adults would suggest tie to her mother’s profession as an exotic dancer. Also, when Twyla thinks back to her memory of Maggie, (Morrison 131), she seems to have no concept of proper political correctness surrounding mental retardation and disabilities. These naïve...
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