Analysis Of Zora Neale Hurston

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Response Paper #2: Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston is considered by some as a woman little worth noting and by others, as one of the most influential writers in the Harlem Renaissance era. Her whimsical and fictional novels have touched many readers and explore themes such as racism, sexism, poverty, and empowerment. In Norton’s Anthology of African American Literature, Hurston’s background sets up for her later success as an author and for the excerpt of “How it Feels to be Colored Me”. Zora grew up in an “all-colored” town called Eatonville, Florida where her father was the mayor. She experienced relative freedom as a young girl, embraced her unique individuality as everyone lovingly called her their own Zora (1041). Yet, the death …show more content…
Her novels were highly fictional, folkloric, that explored the major themes of identity, gender roles/subjugation, and effects of poverty. Her most famous novels Mules of Men and Their Eyes were Watching God are still considered today as very important and influential pieces of literature. In 1948, Hurston was charged with ‘improper relations’ with a 10-year-old boy despite being out of the country at the time. Her career and reputation weakened. By the time she died in 1960, she had been reduced to poverty working odd jobs and never returning back to her writing.
In “How it Feels to be Colored Me”, Hurston talks about these early instances of her oblivion to her skin color or “otherness” as called by White American Society. Hurston claims that although racism and other determents have happened in her life, she is “not tragically colored” (1041). Hurston refuses to undermine her place in the world. She encourages a sense of empowerment rather than playing the “victim card”. She describes her deep passion with instances of jazz music and bag metaphors to depict her unique style of empowering literature to African
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Hurston reveals that she once went to a Jazz performance with a white person. While she could deeply feel the music and even imagined herself as a warrior, the white person was just casually wowed by the experience. (1042) Zora was curious as to why she could feel so intensely when others could not—the biography suggests that she received this quality from the number of fairytales told to her as a child and the freedom it allowed her imagination. Having read Their Eyes were Watching God myself, I can now better understand that the plot was to be read with little realism. However, this makes the themes of poverty, sexism, racism, finding personal freedom, and identity to stand out more in the context of highly fictional circumstances. Hurston deeply engaged her readers with her pure passion and endless imagination that rightly put her as one of the greatest writers of the Harlem Renaissance and of African American literature in

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