Discussing “Monkey Junk”

Monkey Junk is the third short story I have read where Hurston uses an old testament biblical style of writing. This story is a little different then “Book of Harlem” and “The Book or Harlem”. In the previous stories the focus is on a person who moves to Harlem and their adventures there. This story deals with a person who is already in Harlem and instead of telling a migration story, we have a story of a man who got bested by a woman.

I would say that the moral of this story is don't use something to win over someone if you can't keep it up for the long haul.

One thing I like about this story is the way Zora makes the woman the victor in the battle. In some of the previous stories the women were victims of the behavior of the men in their lives. In Monkey Junk, the woman uses her knowledge of people and wits to turn the tide of a trial to her favor.

The husband got bested in a battle. While the system of that time heavily favored men, the wife in this story works it to her benefit and the husband has to face that he has been defeated.

One other thing I like about this story is the way Hurston makes a subtle reference to folk tales that were part of the Black culture.

More discussions of Hurston's short stories.