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Zora Neale Hurston Essay

In 1975, Ms. Magazine published Alice Walker’s essay, “In Search of Zora Neale Hurston” reviving interest in the author. Hurston’s four novels and two books of folklore resulted from extensive anthropological research and have proven invaluable sources on the oral cultures of African America. Zora Neale Hurston is considered one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature. Hurston was closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance and has influenced such writers as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gayle Jones, Alice Walker, and Toni Cade Bambara.

Through her writings, Robert Hemenway wrote in The Harlem Renaissance Remembered, Hurston “helped to remind the Renaissance–especially its more bourgeois members–of the richness in the racial heritage. ” (http://zoranealehurston. com/) BIRTHDATE: Jan. 7, 1891, Her father was a Baptist preacher, tenant farmer, and carpenter. At age three her family moved to Eatonville, Fla. , the first incorporated black community in America, of which her father would become mayor.

In her writings she would glorify Eatonville as a utopia where black Americans could live independent of the prejudices of white society. http://www. lkwdpl. org/wihohio/hurs-zor. htm) She was born in a family where she was told that white people were considered the supreme of man kind and that black people were just the bottom of the list. Her work and accomplishments: A novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston was the prototypical authority on black culture from the Harlem Renaissance. In this artistic movement of the 1920s black artists moved from traditional dialectical works and imitation of white writers to explore their own culture and affirm pride in their race.

Zora Neale Hurston pursued this objective by combining literature with anthropology. She first gained attention with her short stories such as “John Redding Goes to Sea” and “Spunk” which appeared in black literary magazines. After several years of anthropological research financed through grants and fellowships, Zora Neale Hurston’s first novel Jonah’s Gourd Vine was published in 1934 to critical success. In 1935, her book Mules and Men, which investigated voodoo practices in black communities in Florida and New Orleans, also brought her kudos.

The year 1937 saw the publication of what is considered Hurston’s greatest novel Their Eyes Watching God. And the following year her travelogue and study of Caribbean voodoo Tell My Horse was published. It received mixed reviews, as did her 1939 novel Moses, Man of the Mountain. Her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road was a commercial success in 1942, despite its overall absurdness, and her final novel Seraph on the Suwanee, published in 1948, was a critical failure.

Zora Neale Hurston was a utopian, who held that black Americans could attain sovereignty from white American society and all its bigotry, as proven by her hometown of Eatonville. Never in her works did she address the issue of racism of whites toward blacks, and as this became a nascent theme among black writers in the post World War II ear of civil rights, Hurston’s literary influence faded. She further scathed her own reputation by railing the civil rights movement and supporting ultraconservative politicians.

She died in poverty and obscurity. (http://www. lkwdpl. org/wihohio/hurs-zor. htm) Zora Neale Hurston’s themes were lessons she had visited in the past or throught the course of her life, she had experianced most of the hatred of men against women voting. Zora was just a little girl when they were fighting for womens rights to vote but she saw thus as a way to help or at least let other people understand what she had to go through when her life was during the fight for womens rights.

‘Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston is about a black and white community that had the people thinking a certain way and also wanted the people to do as they were told but Zora thought differently. Her novel ” Their Eyes Were Watching God” is an example of theme because she shows that love and passion is the most important thing in a persons life. (http://www. novelguide. com/theireyeswerewatchinggod/themeanalysis. html) Hurston’s tone is sweet but on point because she gives both sides of the story to let the reader understand what she had experianced in her life or what she saw other people went through.

In her novel ”Sweat” she talks about the hard work you had to do as a black person so you could live a fair enough life. ”Delia is quite angry because her husband purposefully made it look like a snake and she scolds him” from the novel sweat this quote is showing that she is arngry and frustrated at the other character. She shows that there are emotions in the part and wants to express how she really feels in the novel so the reader can put themselves in her shoes.

Born in relative poverty she attended Howard University until she was offered a scholarship to attend Barnard college, an elite women’s college at which she was the only person of color in attendance at the time. She graduated, along with her very famous co-student Margaret Mead, with a degree in anthropology. (http://rereadinglives. blogspot. com/2011/02/spunk-by-zora-neale-hurston-short-story. html) Spunk was one of Zora’s short stories that helped her understand her life a little bit more and her childhood was included in this story so it shows what happened during her life story.

The novel ”Their Eyes Were Watching God” was intresting because it was a black girl who had a hard time with anything she did. She was with her grandma who was a former slave and was having trouble with her life. Janie’s first marriage to farmer Logan Killicks is planned and executed by Janie’s well-intentioned grandmother, Nanny. In this marriage, Janie chafes under the uninspired but reliable Logan. After he threatens to kill her for not obeying him, she leaves Logan for the suave and ambitious Joe Starks. (http://www. hmoop. com/eyes-were-watching-god/summary. html)

She was a young girl who doesnt know how to change the way people get treated so she wanted to show people what her and her family had to go through so she could live her life and show us a different point of view. This novel was by far the most intresting novel I have ever read and this showed me that other people have a completely point of veiw also she showed that people were not always treated the way they were suppose to because they were a little different in skin color.

People dont understand that everyone has a point of view that could change how you veiw things and how you will act to a different situation. His book was so eye opening because not only did I get to see through another persons eye of view, it showed me that people are sometimes treated differentlyjust because they are not the same as the white people. Many of her stories helped me understand that people are all the same no matter what color or race or who they are realated to. But some people dont understand that because they think that change is different and could lead to bad things.


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