Zora Neale Hurston American Literature Analysis
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...
(The entire section is 4227 words.)
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