Friday, February 13, 2009

Hurston's Pride in African-American Storytelling

Dust Tracks On A Road showed how much Hurston admired stories and the art of storytelling. The article from The Smithsonian also exhibits her proclivity to the traditions of folklore and storytelling. Hurston's esteem for it is shown in Their Eyes Were Watching God. From the very start, Hurston demonstrates the importance of storytelling within the black culture, saying:

"The sun was gone, but he had left his footprints in the sky. It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment. (1)"

This passage, while lengthy, beautifully demonstrates the importance and pride Zora Neale Hurston holds in the tradition of storytelling in the African-American culture. It unites all the people involved and gives their life zeal and interest beyond their normal work. It is a form of entertainment as well as a profound tradition. Growing up in this type of environment, where stories are such an important part life, one can see why Hurston shows such approbation for this aspect of the culture.

Storytelling is prevalent in all cultures and stories are a way of connecting people. The picture included, is from the show Desperate Housewives. In it, housewives find entertainment in gossip and stories and are able to withdraw from their lives as mother, wives and homemakers, even if for just a little while. This is similar to the characters who gossip in Their Eyes Were Watching God, who find a retreat from the mundane jobs they work during the day.

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