Zora Neal Hurston vs. Richard Wright
English and Literature
Submitted By erikcarl33
Stroll down the Champs-Élysées and past the Arc de Triomphe on a mid-nineteenth century Parisian afternoon and it is likely you might encounter two of the world’s most prized artists; Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. Though they were both men of the same race and products of similar backgrounds, Monet and Degas developed contrasting artistic styles. While it is unlikely that they ever publicly reviewed each other’s work, the prospect of Edgar Degas, a devout realist, commenting on Claude Monet’s works of impressionism likely evokes phrases such as ‘stylistic misunderstanding’ and ‘representational disdain.’ Both Claude Monet and Edgar Degas actively sought to achieve some level of worldly representation through their works. They achieved this representation through vastly different methods and fundamentally different brushstrokes. As brushstrokes are to the canvas of the painter, diction is to the pages of an author’s work. The stark and frequently unadulterated realism that Richard Wright, one of the major novelists to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance, is known for, is often contrasted to his contemporary and rival, Zora Neale Hurston’s, more socially appealing racial and human sensuality. Much like Monet and Degas, who aimed to achieve some level of inspiration through their art, Hurston and Wright both actively sought to expand the minds of their audience through socially provoking writing. While no record of contemporary criticism is in existence between Monet and Degas, the same cannot be said for Hurston and Wright. Both authors were passionate about their own methods and styles and rarely shied away from an opportunity to vocalize their opinions regarding the other’s work.
Hurston and Wright grew up in diametrically different spheres and shared very little in common regarding early life experiences. As a child, Wright was raised without his father,…...