Free Essay

Zora Neale Hurston Naturalist

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dmordon
Words 491
Pages 2
Danielle mordon

Zora Neale Hurston's love of African-American folklore and her work as an anthropologist are reflected in her novels and short stories--where she employed the rich indigenous dialects of her native rural Florida and the Caribbean. In her foreword to Hurston's autiobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Maya Angelou wrote, "Her books and folktales vibrate with tragedy, humor and the real music of Black American speech."

A published short story writer by the time she came to New York in 1925, Hurston studied anthropology at Barnard, where she was the college's first African-American student. After graduation, Hurston pursued graduate work at Columbia with renowned anthropologist Franz Boas. She left New York to conduct research in Florida and in Haiti and Jamaica, and her field work resulted in the folklore collections Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938). Her classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God was published in 1937.

Still, Hurston never received the financial rewards she deserved. (The largest royalty she ever earned from any of her books was $943.75.) So when she died on Jan. 28, 1960--at age 69, after suffering a stroke. Her neighbors in Fort Pierce, Florida, had to take up a collection for her February 7 funeral. The collection didn't yield enough to pay for a headstone, however, so Hurston was buried in a grave that remained unmarked until 1973. In 1975, Ms. Magazine published Alice Walker's essay, "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" reviving interest in Hurston's work. Thanks to Alice Walker's efforts, Hurston's grave now has a fitting epitaph: "Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South."

Today, 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.

For today's students, it's nearly impossible to attend high school or college without reading Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God for a literature class. However, because the book takes a such a thoughtful look at female independence, love, and relationships--it is often used in courses on feminist theory and sociology. In fact, Lucy Anne Hurston, Zora Neale Hurston's niece and a professor of sociology, assigns the book to her students at Manchester Community College for her course on marriage and relationships.

Hurston's Mules and Men was the first great collection of black America's folk world. In the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston returned to her "native village" of Eatonville, Florida to record the oral histories, sermons and songs, dating back to the time of slavery, which she remembered hearing as a child. In her quest, she found herself and her history throughout these highly metaphorical folk-tales, "big old lies," and the lyrical language of song. With this collection, Zora Neale Hurston revealed and preserved a beautiful and important part of American culture.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Naturalism

...Zora Neale Hurston – Naturalism Naturalism is defined as the view that whatever man encounters in any area of human experience is natural. In can be described in detail as factual or realistic representation, especially the practice of describing precisely the actual circumstances of human life in literature and the practice of reproducing subjects as precisely as possible in the visual arts (Yahoo! Education - Dictionary). Zora Neale Hurston, an African American writer, anthropologist, and folklorist, was a naturalist. She was born in the town of Eatonville, Florida, which is five miles from Orlando. Eatonville was the first all black community to be incorporated. Ms. Hurston grew up uneducated and poor, but she was immersed with black folk life. She had little experience with racism early on in life which caused her to have unconventional attitudes later in life. After graduating from the Morgan Academy, Ms. Hurston attended Howard University and received her associates’ degree in 1920. Ms. Hurston worked several jobs during her college years but was still often in debt. She struggled with poverty throughout most of her life despite her hard work. From 1925 on, Ms. Hurston lived in New York and eventually joined the Harlem Renaissance. She was one of the shapers of the black literary and cultural movement of the twenties. Ms. Hurston was the first black scholar to research folklore on the level that she did. From 1930s to the 1960s, Zora Neale Hurston was......

Words: 3479 - Pages: 14

Free Essay

Asl; Dkfjsad

...natural world. The philosophy of naturalism teaches that nothing exists beyond the natural, that which can be discerned through science and natural observation. All humans are the product of certain circumstances; we are a caused species, not a self-causing. Naturalists [different word…claim] that there is no supernatural world, no God nor gods that affect our lives or give us Purpose. Instead, humans are made from the circumstances created by the universe, which is governed by natural laws. We have the free will to affect our circumstances in a way that would lead to a more beneficial conclusion for ourselves. Naturalism leads to the search for the cause of a problem, instead of the solution. Naturalism, like all philosophies, entered the literature of its time. This literature was marked less by what naturalism could offer society than by the power of nature. Literary naturalism was characterized by the power of nature over society, the fight of an individual to remain attached to civilization, and by the attempt to portray situations as clearly and as scientifically as possible. This blended with realism to stark descriptions, depictions of racism, pessimism, and some of the worst aspects of society. Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937, at the end of the movement. Their Eyes is a tale of a black woman’s, Janie Starks, travels in the search of a marriage based on true love in Florida. The book is full of commentary on race, money, and nature, as......

Words: 447 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Zora Neale Hurston

...things men got to.  The men liked to relax on the porch and play checkers.  None of the women got to participate in these activities.  This segregation was unfair to the women of Eatonville. Janie can sympathize with the mule because she has undergone the same hardships making the reader think back to Nanny identifying the black woman as the mule of the world. Following Janie’s comment, Jody purchases the mule to live out its days without work. It is only when she tells her tale to Phoeby from the female space of the back porch that her audience is aware that Janie is calling attention to the enslaved condition of women (102). Explaination Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that was written by an African American author, Zora Neale Hurston. The book was launched in 1937 and primarily focuses on the life experiences of the protagonist Janie Crawford (Bloom 59). The story is set in central and southern Florida and epitomizes Janie’s search for self-awareness through love and relationships (Bowers 83). At the heart of the entire narration are the three marriages that Janie has gone through. The story analyses the quest for fulfillment, self-awareness and freedom by the main character through the experiences she had specifically in her three respective marriages. The story is told of her through a comprehensive flashback of her closest ally, Pheoby. The plot emanates in manner that after her extensive marriages, it becomes the role of Pheoby to narrate the story to the......

Words: 2158 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

North American Fiction

...determine it. Apart from this, John Steinberg developed other branch of Naturalism which was called the ‘non teleological thinking’: it doesn’t matter what’s happened, don’t look for causes, just live from this moment. There are three different theories about Naturalism in North America: -In America doesn’t exist such thing as Naturalism since it’s a European movement, mainly French with Emile Zola (Nana) and Guy de Maupassant as main figures. -There are some works in American Literature that could be understood as Naturalist works, but they do not belong to a separated movement, different from Realism. -There is something that can be defined as Naturalism considered as a movement as itself. The representative figures of what we can call American Naturalism are: -Theodor Dreysser -Frank Norris -Jack London: The Call of the Wild, White Fang. -Upton Sinclair: The Jungle: this is considered to be the most typical American Naturalist Novel. It presents a worker, a strong and good person who works in a meat factory in Chicago (an industrial city) and is badly paid, and the consequences of this. It is similar to The Mother by Gorky. 5 AMERICAN MODERNISM AND THE LOST GENERATION MAIN FEATURES: -Although Modernism as such started in Europe after the World War I with figures such as Joyce or Woolf, it can be......

Words: 12691 - Pages: 51

Premium Essay

Amazon.Com - Inc. 2004

...and tragic heroine in conflict with White society that had been typical of the protest novels of the early twentieth century. Like her immediate predecessors, Zora Neale Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks, she focused her novel on an ordinary Black woman’s search for identity within the context of a Black community. But Marshall extended the analysis of Black female characters begun by Hurston and Brooks by depicting her heroine’s development in terms of the relationship between her Barbadian American parents, and by exploring how male and female roles were defined by their immigrant culture, which in turn was influenced by the materialism of White America. By placing characters within a wider cultural context, Marshall attacked racial and sexual stereotypes and paved the way for explorations of race, class, and gender in the novels of the 1970’s. 8. The passage is primarily concerned with C A. comparing the works of three Black American authors B. describing common themes in Black American literature C. discussing an important work in Black American literature D. providing insights about Black American literature in the early twentieth century E. providing historical information about the writing of Black American novels in the second half the twentieth century 9. According to the passage, Hurston, Brooks, and Marshall are alike in that they C A. did not examine the effects of White culture on their characters’ lives B. were heavily influenced......

Words: 36604 - Pages: 147

Premium Essay

Cyrus the Great

...Kristeva Reader. Ed. Tori1 Moi. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986. Leonard, Diana, and Lisa Adkins, eds. Sex in Question: French Materialist Feminism. London: Taylor & Francis, 1996. Mitchell, Juliet. Psychoanalysis and Feminism. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1974. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge, 1987. Warhol, Robyn R., and Diane Price Herndl, eds. Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1997. Works cited Beauvoir, Simone de. “Introduction.” The Second Sex. Rpt. in French Feminism Reader. Ed. Kelly Oliver. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. 6–20. Bethel, Lorraine. “ ‘This Infinity of Conscious Pain’: Zora Neale Hurston and the Black Female Literary Tradition.” All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave. Ed. Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith. Old Westbury, N.Y.: Feminist Press, 1982. 176–88. Brannon, Linda. Gender: Psychological Perspectives. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2005. Bruccoli, Matthew J. “Preface.” The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Mac‑ millan, 1992. vii–xvi. Cixous, Hélène. “Sorties: Out and Out: Attacks/Ways Out/Forays.” Rpt. in The Feminist Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. Catherine Belsey and Jane Moore. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1997. 91–103. Cranny‑Francis, Anne, Wendy Waring, Pam Stavropoulos, and Joan Kirkby. Gender Studies: Terms and Debates. New York: Palgrave......

Words: 221284 - Pages: 886

Free Essay

Art and Story Proceedings 2004

...was fascinated by Gustave Moreau, and near the end of his life he had some not altogether satisfying experiences of cubism, which is mentioned in passing in his novel. Proust seems not to have known that in 1890 Georges Seurat did a number of pictures of Gravelines, a channel resort East of Balbec. “In these quiet seascapes,” Herbert writes, “his emotions are the controlled esponses of a city dweller who seeks not nature but arrangements of forms that express humankind’s ability to construct.” Just when Proust was writing about Marcel’s adventures at the beach in Northern France, a promising French painter summered at the seashore in the South. Henri Matisse was decisively influenced by his visit in 1904 to SaintTropez. After doing some naturalist views of the ocean, in 1904-05 he painted the great Luxe, calme et volupté. There is a great book to be written about French paintings showing the seashore. The pleasures of going to the beach, walking on the sands, bathing in the surf and watching the incoming waves may seem self-evident. But only between 1750 and 1840, so Alain Corbin shows in The Lure of the Sea, did people find “the means of encountering the elements and enjoying the brightness or transparency of the water.” In the late eighteenth-century, as we see in Vernet’s paintings, there was serious fascination with shipwrecks. Romantics, Corbin remarks, “made the beach into a stage on which the story of the collision of the elements unfolded.” What a different image of......

Words: 117240 - Pages: 469

Premium Essay

5 Steps to a 5 Ap English Langauge

...a colloquial style. Comic Relief the inclusion of a humorous character or scene to contrast with the tragic elements of a work, thereby intensifying the next tragic event. Conflict a clash between opposing forces in a literary work, such as man vs. man; man vs. nature; man vs. god; man vs. self. Connective Tissue those elements that help create coherence in a written piece. See Chapter 8. Connotation the interpretive level of a word based on its associated images rather than its literal meaning. Deduction the process of moving from a general rule to a specific example. Denotation the literal or dictionary meaning of a word. Dialect the re-creation of regional spoken language, such as a Southern dialect. Zora Neale Hurston uses this in such works as Their Eyes Were Watching God. Diction the author’s choice of words that creates tone, attitude, and style, as well as meaning. Didactic writing whose purpose is to instruct or to teach. A didactic work is usually formal and focuses on moral or ethical concerns. Discourse a discussion on a specific topic. Ellipsis an indication by a series of three periods that some material has been omitted from a given text. It could be a word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole section. Be wary of the ellipsis; it could obscure the real meaning of the piece of writing. Epigraph the use of a quotation at the beginning of a work that hints at its theme. Hemingway begins The......

Words: 76988 - Pages: 308

Free Essay

Lalala

...“modern” in their rejection of a clear-cut division between the diction of poetry and that of prose (B) “neoclassical” in their emphasis on the use of language that appeals directly to the emotions of the reader (C) “Romantic” in their defense of the idea that a special diction for poetry could be stylistically effective (D) “modern” in their underlying concern for the impact of the literary work on the sensibility of the reader(D) (E) “neoclassical” in their emphasis on ease of comprehension as a literary virtue 7. It can be inferred from the passage that in addition to being a literary critic, Johnson was also a (A) surprisingly modern poet (B) poet in the Augustan mode (C) dramatist (D) biographer(D) (E) naturalist 8. Which one of the following statements best summarizes the main point of the passage? (A) Although many of Johnson’s critical opinions resemble those of the neoclassical critics, his basic concerns are closer to those of the Romantics. (B) The usual classification of Johnson as a member of the neoclassical school of criticism is based on an inaccurate evaluation of his critical theories and ideals. (C) The Romantic critics were mistaken in their belief that the critical ideas they formulated represented a departure from those propounded by Johnson. (D) Although many of Johnson’s critical opinions resemble those of the Romantic critics, his basic concerns are closer to those of the neoclassical critics.(A) (E)......

Words: 413042 - Pages: 1653