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Zora Neale Hurston

The Distinctive Voice of Zora Neale Hurston "It's thrilling to think- to know that for any act of mine, I shall get twice as much praise or twice as much blame"(Hurston 2). Zora Neale Hurston has a remarkably positive but realistic outlook on the duality of the African American female. She understands and therefore is aware that the African American female is greatly magnified in the blurred eyes of the white male world that distorts all of her achievements and shortcomings. Hurston was caught between the emphasis on the exotic aspects of the Harlem Renaissance and the angry voice of black literature during the 1940’s and 1950’s. During the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston decreased those injustices of race and sex. She challenged the traditional position of women and exceeded the traditional space they had been provided: She dared to see herself as a writer with talent equal to if not greater than her peers at representing the “folk” orally and in writing. Hurston rose above the challenge by becoming the most extraordinary writer of the group. Hurston’s works deserve literary and scholarly attention because they acknowledge universal themes, view individuals at all levels of society, and represent the diversity and complexity of the African American female at the turn of the century. Hurston reveals themes in literature that are universal despite the fact that they often experienced divided fidelity to the culture that she lived. The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) has become a perennial classroom favorite because it does not focus on one class, but the entire Jenkins 2community as a whole-representing its language, morals, and prejudices-as context. She went against the “norm” to voice her opinion on controversial issues. Those who misunderstood her, like Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, thought her “black minstrel” characters were created to humor patronizing white ...

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