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Using subjective details for the basis for an analysis, how did Zora Neale Hurston's...

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user8304520 | Honors

Posted March 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM via web

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Using subjective details for the basis for an analysis, how did Zora Neale Hurston's view of herself and the world around her help or hinder her in becoming a writer?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that one particular way that Hurston's view on herself and the world around her enhanced her work as a writer is that she presents a complex view about racial identity.  One reason why Hurston is such a compelling writer is because she was able to bring out how race, as a construct, is both a part of an individual's identity and something that has to be navigated.  In Hurston's work, race impacts her development as a writer.  The issue of race compels one to ask who the intended audience of the work was.  Is Hurston aiming her message of empowerment and individual strength to a White community?  Is Hurston suggesting that her narrative is reflective of a woman of color, seeking to bring solidarity to the community?  These are issues that White writers of the time did not have to address.  Yet, they impact how Hurston develops her work as a writer and how her work is seen. For example, if Hurston presents her narrative as one in which she is able to say that  “I have no lurid tales of race discrimination at Barnard," is she acquiescing to the White community or rising in resistance against it?  This becomes a critical question in her work and in her development as a writer.   Hurston presents a complex view regarding race in her work.  

This is where she absorbed much in way of criticism, impacting her life as a writer.  Yet, it is also here in which Hurston's work demonstrates the challenges that race holds over writers who must address its formative element in their own life and in the life of their work.  Race and racial identity impacts how Hurston sees consciousness in the world and her place in it.  This impacts her perception as a writer and the perceived audience to whom she is aiming her primary message.

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