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Zora Neale Hurston


However, much of her work encountered criticism, as what endeavored to be ethnographic authenticity was construed as a perpetuation of black stereotypes made pliant for her white audiences. This combined with her controversial political affiliations in the 1940’s led to a rejection of her work for some time. Rather than focus on a chronological review of her literary achievements, this paper will thematically consider portions of her corpus in terms of the various academic realms of analysis to which her work is now subject. Initially, some consideration will be given to the problematics of her presentation of folk culture and folk language and the degree those issues have traction in attempting to categorize the work of Hurston. Secondly, a de rigueur explication of how the issues of race and race relations were framed in her work will be given. Finally, the tropes of religion, religious imagery, and spirituality explicitly and implicitly play a significant role in her fiction and as such must be included in any literary analysis of her work. Though it is beyond the scope of this paper, one thematic element which operates consistently in her work is the role of women and her sensitivity to feminist concerns and issues of women’s rights. Suffice it to say that many women in her novels and short stories play strong, consistent and even heroic roles and are often concern with other things than finding a husband or having children.