Sunday, September 11, 2011

Zora Neale Hurston

Parlor Figure Name: Zora Neale Hurston (1)

Birth-Death: January 7, 1891-January 28, 1960 (1)

Residence: Eatonville, Florida (1)

Occupation: Novel writer, playwright, actress, activist (1)

What’s this person best known for? Zora Neale Hurston is best known for creatively portraying her ideas of equality for women and African Americans through her writings during the 1930's.  

Race: African American (1)

Politics: Hurston wanted equality for both women and African Americans.

Beliefs about relation between art and politics: She believed her strong political beliefs could be written about and embedded in her creative and fiction writing.

Major Activities in the 1930s: She taught, researched, produced plays, and wrote novels. (1)

Major Works:
  • Jonah's Gourd Vine (1934)
  • Mules and Men (1935)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  • Tell My Horse (1938)
  • Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939)

Places where figure’s work often appears:  In the 1930's, Hurston published in magazines such as Opportunity Magazine, in which she one an award, and her plays were shown in theaters in New York. (3)

Organizations s/he belongs to, causes s/he supports: She supported the New Negro Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. (1)

Best sound bites by or about this figure:

Was this person a popular or critical success? She was popular success among African American women because her ideas of equality were so radical for the 1930's, and other African American women were greatly hoping for freedom. 

Any Gossip? She was arrested in 1948 and was accused of molesting a boy of only ten years old.  The case was dropped after a few months and she was found innocent. (1)

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: Hurston's feminism was greatly influenced by her father who was very against her outgoing and performance-oriented personality when she was a child. (1)

Titles of the 1-3 “texts” by this person you’ll discuss in your paper:

1. Mules and Men (1935)

2. Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life (1931 & with Langston Hughes)

3.Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

Major influences on this person’s work: Langston Hughes was her friend and cowriter in "Mule Bone: A Comedy of Negro Life" and she was also close friend with Ethel Waters who was a famous singer and actress.  She was also friends with writer Sterling Brown who called her the life of the party. (1, 3)

1)King, Lovalerie. The Cambridge Introduction to Zora Neale Hurston
        .New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.

2)"Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun." California Newsreel, 12 
        Nov. 2008. Web. 15 Sept. 2011. 

3)Boyd, Valerie. "About Zora Neale Hurston."
        Estate of Zora Neale Hurston and HarperCollins, 2007. Web.
        16 Sept. 2011.

4)Bloom, Harold, ed. Zora Neale Hurston. New York: Chelsea House,
        1986. Print.

5)Kaplan, Carla, ed. Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters. New
        York:Doubleday, 2002. Print.

6)Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: 
        HarperCollins, 1990. Print.  

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