Zora neale hurston essay (order an essay inexpensively)

Posted by

Biography of Zora Neale Hurston

On January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was born in the tiny town of Notasulga, Alabama. She was the fifth of eight children in the Hurston household. Her father John was a carpenter, a sharecropper, and a Baptist preacher; her mother Lucy was a former schoolteacher. Within a year of Zora’s birth, the family moved to Eatonville, Florida. Eatonville was the first incorporated black municipality in the United States.

In 1904, thirteen-year-old Zora was devastated by the death of her mother. Later that same year, her father removed her from school and sent her to care for her brother’s children. A rambunctious and restless teenager, Zora was eager to leave the responsibility of her brother’s household. She became a member of a traveling theater at the age of sixteen, and subsequently began domestic work in a white household. The woman for whom Zora worked bought her her first book and arranged for her to attend high school at Morgan Academy (now known as Morgan State University) in Baltimore. She graduated in June 1918.

The following summer, Zora worked as a waitress and manicurist before enrolling in Howard Prep School. She later attended Howard University. Although she spent nearly four years at Howard, she graduated with only a two-year Associate’s degree. This may be explained by the fact that Zora spent most of her time at Howard writing. Beginning with a college publication, and then branching out into writing contests in newspapers and magazines, the early 1920s marked the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston’s career as an author.

In 1925, as the Harlem Renaissance was building steam, Hurston headed to New York City. She enrolled in Barnard College to study under Franz Boas, an important founder of American anthropology. While there, Hurston married her boyfriend from Howard, Herbert Sheen, but the marriage was short-lived. After graduation, Zora returned to her hometown of Eatonville to collect stories as material for her blossoming writing career. In the late 1920s, Hurston published several works and consequently gained financial sponsorship from wealthy New York patrons.

The 1930s and early 1940s marked the peak of Hurston’s literary career. She completed graduate work at Columbia, published four novels and an autobiography, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She traveled to the Caribbean where she became intrigued by the practice of voodoo and she began to incorporate supernatural elements into her novels and stories. Although her work received increasing acclaim from the white literati of New York, Zora often felt under attack by members of the Black Arts Movement. She termed these detractors as members of the “niggerati” for being close-minded in their criticism of her racial politics.

By the mid-1940s Hurston’s writing career was faltering, and she was arrested and charged with molesting a ten-year-old boy. Although she was acquitted, the scars to her image remained permanent. Hurston sunk into depression as publishers rejected one after another of her works.

Around 1950, Hurston returned to Florida where she worked by cleaning houses. After a slew of unsuccessful career changes (including newspaper journalist, librarian, and substitute teacher), Hurston became a penniless recluse. She suffered a fatal stroke in 1959 and was buried at unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Study Guides on Works by Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels to Be Colored Me Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels To Be Colored Me is an essay written by Zora Neale Hurston in 1928. It was written to show what life was like for the average black woman in the 1920s. It wasn’t just aimed toward black readers, but to white readers too, to give a.

Jonah's Gourd Vine Zora Neale Hurston

Jonah’s Gourd Vine is a testament to the commitment of needing to write and a slap in the face to every author who still can’t finish a novel despite writing on a computer while seated at a large desk. This narrative was Zora Neale Hurston’s first.

Mule Bone Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston

Mules and Men Zora Neale Hurston

Mules and Men is a collection of African-American folklore by African-American author Zora Neale Hurston published in 1935. It features a variety of stories that Hurston herself collected by making trips to Florida and New Orleans (places notable.

Sweat Zora Neale Hurston

“Sweat” is a short story by Zora Neale Hurston, published in 1926. Hurston was “a product of the Harlem Renaissance,” an African-American political and artistic movement that took place in Harlem, New York in the 1920s, “as well as one of its most.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

Hurston wrote Their Eyes in 1937 in only seven weeks while doing anthropological research in Haiti. When Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God was first published in 1937, it did not receive the accolades and recognition that it.

Zora Neale Hurston: Short Stories Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was an African American writer who lived mainly during the 1900s. She wrote everything from novels to short stories, contributing to the dynamic African American literary scene. She published four novels and over fifty short.

How It Feels to Be Colored Me Summary

Zora Neale Hurston

How It Feels to Be Colored Me Summary

In “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Zora Neale Hurston describes her experiences as an African American woman in early 20th Century America. She describes people as different colored bags, all of which are filled with the random bits of things that make up life.

Raised in an all-black community in Florida, Hurston did not have much reason to consider her race until she left home at age thirteen to go to boarding school in Jacksonville. In Eatonville, her hometown, Hurston was, “everybody’s Zora,” but when she got to Jacksonville, her race was no longer invisible to her, because the city was more diverse, “I was not Zora of Orange County any more, I was now a little colored girl.”

Hurston recounts a number of experiences where she has “felt her race.” At college in Barnard, she was “a dark rock surged upon, overswept by a creamy sea.” She also describes a time she went to a jazz club with a white friend, and while she found herself deeply affected by the music, her white friend was not similarly affected, which Hurston chalks up to their racial difference. Despite her position as a black woman, in this essay, Hurston does not engage in self-pity, but takes racial difference and discrimination in stride.

Hurston uses the metaphor of colored bags to describe what people are like: bags full of hopes, desires, disappointments, and the stuff of life. If you were to dump these bags out, everyone would be more or less the same, regardless of the color of their skin/bag.

Download How It Feels to Be Colored Me Study Guide

“How It Feels to Be Colored Me” is a widely anthologized descriptive essay in which Zora Neale Hurston explores the discovery of her identity and self-pride. Following the conventions of description, Hurston employs colorful diction, imagery, and figurative language to take the reader on this journey. Using a conversational tone and multiple colloquialisms, Hurston at the beginning of the essay delves into her childhood in Eatonville, Florida, through anecdotes describing moments when she greeted neighbors, sang and danced in the streets, and viewed her surroundings from a comfortable spot on her front porch. Back then, she was “everybody’s Zora,” free from the alienating feeling of difference. However, when she was thirteen her mother passed away, and she left home to attend a boarding school in Jacksonville where she immediately became “colored.”

Hurston says she does not consider herself “tragically colored” and begins weaving together extended metaphors that suggest her self-pride. She is too busy “sharpening her oyster knife” to stop to think about the pain that discrimination may cause, and as a “dark rock surged upon” she emerges all the stronger for any hardships that she has had to endure. Hurston does, however, acknowledge moments when she feels her (or others’) racial difference, and her experience with a friend at a jazz club marks the distance between their lives.

At the end of the essay, Hurston develops an extended metaphor in which she compares herself to a brown bag stuffed with random bits and bobs. She likens all people to different colored bags that, if emptied into a large pile and re-stuffed, would not be much altered, suggesting that people of varying races are essentially of the same human character. Hurston concludes by asserting that “the Great Stuffer of Bags,” the Creator, may have fashioned people in this way from the very beginning. Thus, Hurston fosters a perspective that looks beyond pride in one’s race to pride in one’s self.

Originally published in the May 1928 edition of The World Tomorrow, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” was a contentious essay that obviously did not fit with the ideologies of racial segregation, nor did it completely mesh with the flowering of black pride associated with the Harlem Renaissance. In the essay, Hurston divorces herself from “the sobbing school of Negrohood” that requires her to continually lay claim to past and present injustices. She can sleep at night knowing that she has lived a righteous life, never fearing that some “dark ghost” might end up next to her in bed. Through her witty words, Hurston delivers a powerful message to challenge the mind-sets of her, and our, time.

How It Feels to Be Colored Me Homework Help Questions

“How It Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston portrays her view of life. For the reader, Hurston’s self- portrait conveys a wonderfully remarkable human being who does care to.

Zora Neal Hurston spends most of “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” talking about the ways in which she does and does not feel her color. She does not, for example, feel like so many other African.

In her essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me,” Zora Neale Hurston talks about what it feels like for her to be colored. Unlike some of her fellow black citizens, Hurston does not always feel black.

One of the metaphors in this essay by Zora Neale Hurston is “the front porch might seem a daring place for the rest of the town, but it was a gallery seat for me.” Hurston compares the front porch.

Zora Neale Hurston in her essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” written in 1927 exerts a positive attitudes that belies someone who has found inner happiness. Despite facing many times when.

Zora Neale Hurston Critical Essays

Zora Neale Hurston American Literature Analysis

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Hurston’s depiction of black life in her writing stands in sharp contrast to the harsher views of black life depicted in works by such novelists as Richard Wright, who attacked her writing as “counter revolutionary.” Unlike the work of Wright, who was committed to using his writing to demand social change, Hurston’s writing is, first and foremost, a celebration of being black in America.

Wright was not the only critic, during her lifetime or afterward, to accuse Hurston of political naïveté; it is a charge that deserves consideration. It is true that the reader of Hurston’s work searches in vain for some sensitive portrayal of the true plight of blacks during the Depression, the period during which Hurston wrote most of her best works. Poverty in the Eatonville she portrays is more likely to be the setting for a story or a joke than a cause for concerted political action.

Furthermore, it is equally true that Hurston, who grew up in a nourishing black community, remained a defender of some aspects of racial separatism well after the Civil Rights movement had identified integration as its goal; she even criticized the Supreme Court’s Brown v. the Board of Education ruling, which demanded desegregation of public schools. If Hurston thought that blacks should be wary of what integration had to offer, it was because she valued so highly what black culture had to offer and feared the possibility of black culture getting lost in an attempt to homogenize society.

The title of her most successful work of folklore, Mules and Men, might seem to suggest a grim setting of men being treated like beasts of burden. In fact, though, the stories within the book celebrate a bond of cleverness and zest that the people of the South she chronicles share with the folkloric animals about which they tell stories. It is not that Hurston was not a political writer but that the politics of her writing came from a greater appreciation for the culture and values that black Americans had developed than for the culture from which they were often painfully excluded. Furthermore, as becomes clear in some of her essays, such as “How it Feels to Be Colered Me” (reprinted in a collection of Hurston’s essays, I Love Myself When I Am Laughing . . . , 1979, edited by Alice Walker), she understood before many that it was only from a perspective of mutual respect that the black and white races would be able to cooperate.

When Hurston’s literary reputation began to be revived in the 1970’s, it was as much because of an appreciation of her sexual politics by feminist readers as because of her celebrations of black America. Her great novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is as much as anything else an account of main character Janie Crawford’s sexual awakening and search for equality in a relationship. Furthermore, her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, is an often frank (though sometimes guarded) account of a very independent-minded woman’s walk through life.

It is generally true that Hurston’s political vision, which was shaped within an autonomous black community, applies less well to the poor and often racially besieged black communities that existed elsewhere in the South. It is also generally true that the further she got from the realities of Eatonville as the setting for her writing, the less effectively her imagination and craft seemed to serve her. This can be seen especially in Seraph on the Suwannee, her one attempt at centering a novel on mainly white characters. It is the most disappointing of her fictions. The exception to this rule may, with some justification, be said to be Moses, Man of the Mountain, her version of the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt and the founding of Israel; in fact, however, the book is successful precisely because it rewrites the story of Moses as a black fable about the establishment of an autonomous nation after the end of slavery.

The most valuable lesson that can be taken from Hurston’s writing, and her most important recurring theme, is the enormous beauty and power a distinctive voice can have when it has the courage to show itself as its cultural and personal self rather than hiding behind imitations of others.

First published: 1935

Type of work: Folklore

Hurston returns to her native South to collect folklore.

In writing Mules and Men, Hurston not only found a way to make a crucial bridge between her anthropological and literary ambitions but also created a lasting treasure of stories that captured the authentic voices of southern black storytellers in the late 1920’s. The book is divided into two parts. The first part details her collecting of folklore in Florida, the second part in New Orleans. The order in which the tales are related is ostensibly random, simply the order in which people told them to her, but as her biographer Robert Hemenway points out, and as inspection of the text reveals, the clusters of the stories are, to some extent, thematic.

Though there are a few stories about men and women in the first part of the book, most of the earlier stories deal with the days of slavery and with competition between the races in general. In the tales of slavery, the most common character is John, sometimes called Jack, who is often introduced as “Ole Massa’s” favorite slave, though he inevitably ends up tricking the slave owner somehow or another. John is a consummate trickster figure who, though he will often engage in hard physical labor, always triumphs through the power of his wits, and occasionally, good luck.

Sometimes John’s triumphs are smaller than at others—sometimes he merely survives—but at times, when he has been attacked brutally or viciously, his revenge is brutal indeed, as in “Ah’ll Beatcher Makin’ Money,” in which he tricks Massa into killing his own grandmother, then into being drowned. John shows his proudest, most dignified, side in the story Hurston calls “Member Youse a Nigger,” in which he works extra hard for a year to arrange a banner crop for his master, on the condition that he be freed at the end of the year. Ole Massa does indeed keep his side of the bargain but shows his true self when, as John leaves, he keeps calling to him, “Member John, youse a nigger.” John replies to him after every call but keeps walking until he gets to Canada.

Many of the other stories are talking animal stories, similar to the ones Joel Chandler Harris had collected in his Uncle Remus stories some years earlier. In many of these, the animals are clever stand-ins for blacks and whites, such as the story “What the Rabbit Learned,” in which Brer Rabbit knows enough to keep away from Brer Dog, despite Brer Dog’s protestations that dogs have all agreed to be friends with rabbits. Perhaps the most important of these stories is the story “The Talking Mule,” in which an old mule called Bill, after years of doing plowing for the man who owns him, one day speaks up and refuses, which so startles the old man that he runs away as fast as he can. The encoded message, preaching resistance to oppression, could not be clearer.

Part 2 of Mules and Men has an entirely different feel to it. In part 1, it is clear that Hurston is collecting stories with which she is often already familiar, in an area that, though she occasionally stands out as citified, she basically considers to be home. Part 2, however, takes her to New Orleans, where she sets about collecting the lore of Hoodoo, which she argues is a suppressed religion. Whereas in the first part, Hurston herself is often as important as the stories she is collecting, in the second part, she removes herself more to the background, usually playing the role of student to the people she writes about.

Part 2 is written as series of profiles of individual Hoodoo doctors. Luke Turner, one such doctor, tells Hurston the legend of Marie Leveau, a famous nineteenth century Hoodoo doctor; Anatol Pierre is a Catholic who also claims to have learned from Leveau. Dr. Duke is a root doctor, who uses herbs and roots he gathers from the swamps. Hurston is very careful about detailing the initiation ceremonies that different doctors make her undergo as well as the elaborate rituals they use to get rid of people, to get people back, and even to kill them. With Kitty Brown, the last Hoodoo doctor profiled, Hurston herself participates in a ritual to cause the death of a man who left one of Kitty Brown’s clients. When the man begins, several days later, to feel a pain in his chest, he returns to the woman he left, who quickly has the curse canceled. It becomes very plain in these stories that Hurston takes these rituals seriously indeed.

One of the complaints some reviewers had about Mules and Men was its general reluctance to show the economic realities of the southern blacks about which Hurston was writing. To some extent, this seems to have been the result of a deliberate choice by Hurston to emphasize the qualities she most cherished. The South that Hurston records in this volume of folklore is one fiercely alive with humor, irony, and mystery.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

First published: 1937

Type of work: Novel

A black woman’s life becomes a personal odyssey in search of personal values.

Janie Crawford, the main character of Hurston’s most important novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is the granddaughter of a slave woman, Nanny, who was raped by her owner, and the daughter of a woman who was raped by her schoolteacher. It is against the heritage of this racial and sexual violence that Janie tries to find a personally fulfilling life. The novel begins with Janie returning to Eatonville after the death of her third husband, Tea Cake Woods. Janie sits with her old friend, Pheoby, to tell her story, and the bulk of the novel, although narrated in the third-person voice, is the story Janie tells.

Her story begins when Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, spies her enjoying her first romantic kiss. Realizing that Janie, at the age of sixteen, is almost a woman and that Nanny herself will not be around much longer to take care of her, Nanny.

(The entire section is 4227 words.)

Get Free Access to this Zora Neale Hurston Study Guide

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this resource and thousands more.

Get Better Grades

Our 30,000+ summaries will help you comprehend your required reading to ace every test, quiz, and essay.

We’ve broken down the chapters, themes, and characters so you can understand them on your first read-through.

Access Everything From Anywhere

We have everything you need in one place, even if you’re on the go. Download our handy iOS app for free.

Zora Neale Hurston Homework Help Questions

I think that my answer may be coming too late, but I’ll still give it a shot. Zora Neale Hurston’s 1928 short prose piece (I’m not sure that it’s a formal essay, but there’s nothing wrong with.

There are at least a couple of different texts in which Zora Neale Hurston describes Eatonville, Florida, a town where she grew up but also one in which she set her best-known novel, Their Eyes.

This story of Hurston’s has a few central themes, some of which overlap: cowardice, marriage (with a focus on adultery), aggression, and even power. Cowardice is seen from the beginning when Joe.

One of the most interesting things I have always remembered about Zora Neal Hurston is something very bold which she did–both as a woman and as an African-American. She was writing during the.

Personally, I am always wary of these labels when they are applied to writers. They tend to oversimplify the relationships of the author to his or her subject matter and cultural context. In the.

Zora neale hurston essay

Our Services

  • Samples
  • August 26th, 2013

Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston

Sweat is one of Zora Neale Hurston’s world-renowned short stories. As a famous American writer, Hurston is known for writing stories that depict real life as it was during the years when she wrote the stories. This story is about Delia Jones, an African American woman who has been in a strained marriage for fifteen years. The author uses her experiences to explain how oppression and physical abuse affected African American women of this period. In the end, Delia gets her revenge on her husband, Sykes for his mistreatment over the years.

From the beginning of the story, it is evident that Delia Jones is in a strained marriage and that her husband has no respect for her. The first encounter with this mistreatment is seen when he comes to the house late and scares her with a bullwhip, which looked like a snake. Sykes knows that Delia is afraid of snakes but goes on to frighten her with the whip, which looks like a snake. Sykes admits that he just wanted to scare her by saying, “Course I knowed! That’s how come Ah done it” (Hurston 26). He scared her intentionally and does not show any kind of remorse. When Delia attempts to question his actions, he walks away insulting her. From this action, it is evident that Delia needs some form of revenge against him in order to positively change his behavior.

Secondly, Sykes does not respect Delia’s work and goes on to do things that show this disrespect. When he first enters the house, Delia has sorted all the laundry according to colors in order to make the washing easier for her. However, Sykes comes and kicks the piles together, mixing the clothes all over again. This is a sign of disrespect to Delia and her work. He even goes ahead to step on the white clothes making it harder for Delia to finish the washing on time. Additionally, Sykes does not care if she does her work on time or not. He says, “Ah don’t keer if you never git through” (Hurston 27). He is not concerned at all, about how hard his wife works to keep their family in order. Delia tries to explain that her sweat has been feeding their family for fifteen years but he doers not listen to what she has to say. The first sign of her revenge can be seen when she “seized the iron skillet from the stove and struck a defensive pose” (Hurston 27). Although she is too weak to engage in a physical fight with Sykes, Delia shows that she can stand for herself and he goes away.

Delia’s real revenge comes when Sykes decides to bring a rattlesnake into the house. It is an unexpected turn of events since he knows that she is unreservedly scared of snakes. At first, he teases her by saying that he brought her a gift, which to Delia is impossible. When Delia asks him to take away the snake, Sykes says that it will stay in the house until it dies. He even goes ahead to put it in the kitchen where Delia does most of her work. However, this action is not only used to scare Delia but Sykes wants her to leave the house so that he can live with Bertha, the mistress. This can be seen when he says, “Dat’s a nice snake and anybody doan lak ‘im kin jes’ hit de grit” (Hurston 32). This explains why Sykes is so insistent on having the snake in the house. Nonetheless, Delia continues living in the house while avoiding the place where the snake is kept. Sykes even goes ahead to put the snake in the basket where Delia puts her washing.

Upon realizing this, Delia runs outside and leaves the house and goes to sleep in the hay barn. When Sykes comes back and goes into the house, he cannot find a light since the matchbox is not in the usual place. This gives a chance for the snake to pounce on him biting him with its poisonous fangs. This is the ultimate revenge for Delia since the same snake that was meant to drive her away bites Sykes who claimed to be an expert at handling snakes. Eventually, the poison from the snake leads to Sykes death. At first, Sykes does not seem to know who killed him as he calls for Delia to help him. This shows that he stills thinks that Delia could not be responsible for his death. However, towards the end, he seems surprised to hear Delia in the stables. By the end of the story, he knows that it was Delia in the stables and that she did nothing to help him.

The ending of the story is of great significance to the plot development and enhancement of the major themes. In any story, the ending always gives the whole story its meaning since it is a culmination of all the action that took place. In this story, the author has explained how Sykes oppresses his wife and the ending comes because of Sykes behavior. In the story, Delia believes that a person usually is paid for their actions. She says, “Whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly. Sometime or ruther, Sykes, like everybody else, is going to reap his sowing” (Hurston 28). This is a prediction of what will happen later in the book. Delia does not try to seek help from the doctors on Orlando or from the Chinaberry tree. Additionally, Delia pities him but does not want to help him. The end is important in showing that Delia finally got revenge for what Sykes had done to her.

Zora Neale Hurston’s uses this story as a stage for exploring the plight of African American women in marriage. The message that this story is trying to pass across is purely based on oppression, infidelity and physical abuse in marriage. The book is written for a wide audience mainly targeting those in abusive marriages. It also explores what could be the results of these actions especially for a long-term relationship like marriage. In this book, Sykes’ actions prove to be fatal. The snake that he brought to scare his wife bites and kills him, a fate that could have been prevented if he had been good to his wife. If their marriage had been better, Delia would have warned Sykes about the snake and he would not have died. In the end, Delia gets her revenge when Sykes dies from the poisonous bite.

You can place an order similar to this with us. You are assured of an authentic custom paper delivered within the given deadline besides our 24/7 customer support all through.

Zora Neale Hurston

Welcome to the official web site of Zora Neale Hurston

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.

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.

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.”

“Zora’s work will be felt for years in the works of many generations of writers.”

“Awarded New York Public Library’s “One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing””

“Stories rich in insight [and] humor.”

— Rocky Mountain News

“Simply the most exciting book on black folklore and culture I have ever read.”

— Roger D. Abrahams

“Zora’s work will be felt for years in the works of many generations of writers.”

“One of the greatest writers of our time”

“Zora’s work will be felt for years in the works of many generations of writers.”

“Strikingly dramatic, yet simple and unrestrained. an unusual and intensely interesting book richly packed with strange information.”

— New York Times Book Review

“Warm, witty, imaginative, and down-to-earth by turns, this is a rich and winning book by one of our genuine, Grade A, folk writers.”

“a bold and beautiful book, many a page priceless and unforgettable.”

“The real thing, warm, humorous, poetic.”

“Zora’s work will be felt for years in the works of many generations of writers.”

“An extraordinary treasure.”

“Zora’s work will be felt for years in the works of many generations of writers.”

“A simple, colorfully written, and moving novel.”

Leave a Reply