Thursday, February 12, 2009

So far the novel takes place in the deep South in what is presumably a predominately black town. Although Zora Neale Hurston does not outright tell the reader the setting for her novel, this can be assumed by the characters’ language. For example, the very first bit of dialogue is “What she doin coming back here in dem overhalls?” (2). The heavy accents that are carried out by the characters throughout the chapter show that the residents of this town are most likely uneducated. Hurston’s choice of setting makes for a very different story than would a setting where there might be a more erudite crowd. Hurston writes, “these sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long” (1). The people in Hurston’s setting are most likely stricken by poverty and are lower down on the social latter. They probably work more manually intensive jobs, as did many African Americans of this time period. Therefore it is likely that the characters would be more jaded and have different values than a wealthy individual would. After a long day’s work, they relax by sitting and gossiping on their porches as the sun sets. In this way Hurston’s setting sets the mood and changes the tone of the novel.

1 comment:

  1. Effective use of vocabulary. It is important that Hurston portrays the cultural setting of a working class black society. It is this very aspect and the characters within that made the novel controversial during the Harlem Renaissance. Her portrayal of black culture was something that other authors were attempting to hide or erase from the minds of American society. Hurston is celebrating this aspect of her culture through language and dialogue.