Zora Neale Hurston
How does knowing the historical context of a literary work help us better understand the text?
HR - period from the end of WWI through the middle of the 1930s DepressionTalented African-American writers produce a sizable body of literature (poetry, fiction, drama, and essay)Two-ness divided awareness of ones identityCommon themes alienation, marginality, the use of folk material, the use of the blues tradition, the problems of writing for an elite audienceRacial consciousness; back to Africa movement (Marcus Garvey), racial integration; explosion of jazz, spirituals, and blues; painting; dramatic revues; etc.
*Lasted from 1919-1937.Goals of the Harlem Renaissance:To respond to the social conditions of African- Americans;To break with the 19th century minstrel stereotypes of African-Americans;To place greater emphasis on black folk culture;To provide political and social uplift for African-Americans through social programs such as the NAACP.
*William H. JohnsonMount Calvary
*Lois Mailou JonesTextile Design for Cretonne, 1928
*William H. JohnsonStreet Life Harlem, 1939-1940
*Jazz Began in New Orleans during the late 1800s Stemmed from Negro spirituals and grew into a more formalized type of musicJazz is largely improvisation with musicians creating the rhythm as they play.During the Harlem Renaissance, jazz made a geographical move to the North as more publishing companies opened in New York and more opportunities for band appearances became available.
From the 1930s through the 1950s, Zora Neale Hurston was on of the most prolific African-American female writers in America.Known for her candid portrayal of the struggle and courage of African-Americans in the rural South.She was a unique artist, folklorist, and anthropologist who remains one of the most revered writers of all time.
Born in Alabama (1891)Age of three: moved to the town of Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black community to be incorporated to the United States. Attended Howard University & Barnard College (studied Anthropology)Known for her research in American folklore as well as Haiti and the British IslesAchieved fame & sparked controversy as a novelist, anthropologist, essayist, lecturer, & theatrical producerTEWWG published during the Harlem Renaissance (1937). TEWWG is her most famous and widely-acclaimed novel.Incorporates black folk life
Hurston died in a convalescent home, penniless, and nameless on January 28, 1960.She was buried in an unmarked grave until 1973, when writer Alice Walker discovered and inscribed her gravestone with Zora Neale Hurston A Genius of the South 1901-1960 Novelist, Folklorist, Anthropologist.
Culture (everything that humans do that isnt motivated by natural instinct)Tradition ( cultural behavior that exhibits continuity in time)Narrative (storiesdiffering cultures have a differing sense of story)Orality (anything that is spoken, changed, recited, sung, or read aloud)Performance Etiology (any explanation for the origin of something)Folklore (cultural behaviors or traditions)
Eatonville, Florida: 1930s*The story is fictional, but Eatonville (a town created and governed by African Americans) is real. West Florida, Jacksonville, The Everglades, West Palm Beach
Hurston spent most of her life in the town of Eatonville, Florida.History of EatonvilleShortly after the Civil War, newly freed slaves moved to central Florida in search of work. Because of the large influx of blacks, white landowners and voters soon found themselves outnumbered.In order to attempt a better balance of voters, the proposal was made to offer blacks the opportunity to purchase land and establish their own community.
Hurston recognized the value of folklore, religion, and music to the African-American culture, and sought to interweave its richness and history within her novels, short stories, plays, and collections.One of the most important aspects of African-American cultures around the world. Oral tradition-the verbal communication of stories of history, family values, and morals, passed from generation to generation.Folktales are a part of this oral tradition, and exist in many cultures around the world.
Folktales are carried from one place to another as groups of people migrate, and can change and adapt to new situations and settings as these groups of people adapt to their new surroundings and challenges.Many African-American folktales traveled from Africa as slaves were brought to America.Early African-American folktales provided a way of broadening a sense of community and unity, as well as an escape from the burdens of slavery and oppression.
Stories included heroes, magic, witches, biblical characters, and more, were used as a platform for teaching lessons, cultural values, and the importance of family togetherness. Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby and Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch are two of the most famous African-American folktales.
Spiritual- slave songSlaves were not allowed to speak any language other than English, nor were they allowed to read or write, slaves often communicated through song.Songs were used to educate, enlighten, and reflect upon the past, present, and future hopes of slaves.Slaves would sing songs expressing love, hope, sorrow, loss, and of their exile from their homeland. Slaves would also use songs to communicate information.
Janie CrawfordNannyLogan KillicksJoe StarksTea CakePheoby WatsonMrs. WashburnMr. TurnerMrs. TurnerHezekiahMotor Boat
Janies hairPear treeThe horizonThe hurricaneHead rags worn by Janie / removal of hair rags
LanguagePowerLoveIndependenceCommunityRace & RacismHistoryReligion / Spirituality