Essay about Zora Neale Hurston: The Woman and the Writer

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Zora Neale Hurston: The Woman and the Writer To most people, the name Zora Neale Hurston is associated solely with Their Eyes Were Watching God, her most famous work. In some cases her name is synonymous with the Harlem Renaissance. However, very few people are informed about the aspects of Zora's life that influenced her writing of Their Eyes , nor do they know about how she arrived in New York to become one of the most famous Black female writers of her time. Robert Hemenway's Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Biography and Valerie Boyd's Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston both seek to educate people about the life of this writer and to give the reader information about her other literary works. Both authors …show more content…
Therefore, the subtitle of the book, “A Literary Biography,” is more than accurate. Because of Hemenway's objective, Zora Neale Hurston will not necessarily attract readers who are unfamiliar with Hurston's work before or beyond Their Eyes Were Watching God . In a way, Hemenway's effort is written for members of the academia who have a specific interest in researching Zora Neale Hurston's novels and short stories, and for those who wish to know about her anthropological studies. [1]

On the other hand, Valerie Boyd's Wrapped in Rainbows speaks to Hemenway's belief that a definitive biography should be written by a Black woman writer, and one who could somewhat identify with Zora's struggles as a Black female in the 1920s and 30s. While Boyd does discuss Zora's literary efforts—and even refers to Hemenway's biography at times—her main focus is on Zora's social interactions. The details of Zora's life are also clearer; Boyd seems to fill in the gaps that Hemenway's biography left open. Perhaps this is because there was more information about Zora at the time of Boyd's biography. Hemenway himself admitted that “there [were] more biographical facts to be discovered, more interpretations to come” at the time of his publishing (Hemenway xx). In any case, Valerie Boyd paints a picture of Zora Neale Hurston, the woman : where she lived, who she married,

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