Sunday, August 4, 2019
The Conveyance of Emotion in the Writing of Zora Neale Hurston Essay
The Conveyance of Emotion in the Writing of Zora Neale Hurston Sharpening Her Oyster Knife: I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it....No, I do not weep at the world -- I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife. ___Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston kept busy sharpening her oyster knife not to prepare for any violent confrontations with white society but quite the opposite, to extract the raw materials from her own culture and cultivate them into priceless treasures. To Hurston the Negro was always in vogue (Hughes). She didn't wait for the white culture to place its stamp of approval on the subject matter she knew and loved so well. In her well-known essay, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Hurston makes reference to society's view of her a the granddaughter of slaves: "It is quite exciting to hold the center of the national stage, with the spectators not knowing whether to laugh or to weep." Hurston must have felt that way about her writing also; she threw it out there and let the audience do with it what they willed. Sometimes we laugh; sometimes we cry. But humor always hovers nearby in all of her writing and serves as the emotional salvation needed to compensate for the often heavy subject m atter (Fauset, 166). Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston indicates that to refuse one's heritage is cultural suicide, and the loss of laughter represents an early symptom. In the novel, throug... ...w York: HarperCollins, 1995. Hurston, Zora Neale. "The Gilded Six-Bits." ZNH: The Complete Stories. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1937. Jones, Gayl. "Breaking Out of the Conventions of Dialect." Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad, 1993. Lowe, John. "'Cast in Yo' Nets Right Here': Finding a Comic Voice." Jump at the Sun. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994. Miller, Rachel. "Narrative Strategy in Hurston's 'Sweat'." http://www.as.wvu.edu/~ginsberg/sweat.htm Wall, Cheryl A. "Zora Neale Hurston: Changing Her Own Words." Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad, 1993.
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