"Protection in My Mouf": self, voice, and community in Zora Neale Hurston's 'Dust Tracks on a Road' and 'Mules and Men.' (autobiography and ethnography by Zora Neale Hurston)Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. opens her first collection of African-American folklore, Mules and Men, with a condensed con·dense
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.
2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.
a. version of the story of her own life:
When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in the crib of negroism. From the earliest rocking of my cradle, I had known about the capers CAPERS. Vessels of war owned by private persons, and different from ordinary privateers (q.v.) only in size, being smaller. Bea. Lex. Mer. 230. Brer Rabbit Brer Rabbit
clever trickster. [Children’s Lit.: Uncle Remus]
See : Mischievousness is apt to cut and what the Squinch squinch, in architecture, a piece of construction used for filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a proper base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome. Owl says from the house top. But it was fitting me like a tight chemise. I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings, that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spy-glass of Anthropology to look through at that. (1)
Classified as folklore, or ethnography ethnography: see anthropology; ethnology.
Descriptive study of a particular human society. Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on fieldwork. , and confined in locale to the American South, Mules and Men would seem to have as its object of investigation the stories that convey the values of this particular "folk" and the African Americans who repeat these stories. Initially published in 1935, seven years before Dust Tracks on a Road - the text Hurston and her publishers advertised as autobiography - Mules and Men also presents Hurston as both observer and observed, as narrator NARRATOR. A pleader who draws narrs serviens narrator, a sergeant at law. Fleta, 1. 2, c. 37. Obsolete. and protagonist, in a fashion analogous to the role of the narrator in overtly autobiographical writing. Although Robert Hemenway Robert Emery Hemenway is the 16th and current chancellor of the University of Kansas (KU). Hemenway arrived at KU in 1995 as the successor to interim chancellor, Del Shankel. suggests that, in Mules and Men, Hurston "worked hard to make sure that her personal saga did not become the book's focus," he describes her as a "master of ceremonies," implying that she is, if not the "focus," at least the orchestrator or·ches·trate
tr.v. or·ches·trat·ed, or·ches·trat·ing, or·ches·trates
1. To compose or arrange (music) for performance by an orchestra.
2. of events (166).
In Hurston's oeuvre, the generic distinctions between ethnography and autobiography are suspect.(1) In Mules and Men, her own activity provides the narratorial grid onto which various folk tales are inscribed in·scribe
tr.v. in·scribed, in·scrib·ing, in·scribes
a. To write, print, carve, or engrave (words or letters) on or in a surface.
b. To mark or engrave (a surface) with words or letters. , whereas in Dust Tracks on a Road Hurston constructs her life such that many events and characters acquire mythic significance; in her folklore, that is, she tells her own story, while in her autobiography, she includes much "lore." Since Hurston does not confine the life she writes in her autobiography to the lifetime of her corporeal Possessing a physical nature; having an objective, tangible existence; being capable of perception by touch and sight.
Under Common Law, corporeal hereditaments are physical objects encompassed in land, including the land itself and any tangible object on it, that can be self but rather contextualizes - and extends - it temporally within the history of her community, these two texts can be read as situated against or written onto each other. Hurston relies on her anthropological gaze, on the lens of her discipline, not only to examine and construct African-American Southern rural culture but also to examine and construct and to some extent conceal her own place within that culture. In both books, she relates a lore of the self as well as a lore of the folk. Although many literary autobiographies convey an individual's acquisition of subjectivity through literacy, through writing subjectivity into a text, Hurston resists this tradition because her subjectivity has been previously constructed through the orality orality /oral·i·ty/ (or-al´it-e) the psychic organization of all the sensations, impulses, and personality traits derived from the oral stage of psychosexual development.
n. of folklore.(2) Much of what gets written down here is less an attempt to discover or create a self by textualizing personal memory than it is an attempt to reproduce the stories that Hurston identifies with herself because she has told them.
Both texts, then, can be discussed in terms of their autobiographical impulses, for each has among its objects of knowledge Hurston herself (Boxwell 606). Indeed, Joanne Braxton argues that the folklore is more efficacious as autobiography than is Dust Tracks, since Hurston's voice in the folklore is less self-conscious: "These volumes are in some ways more successful as forms of symbolic memory than [is] Dust Tracks" (153). In neither text is Hurston exclusively the narrator; she is always also the narrated. In this sense, both texts adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful
2. a primary characteristic of all autobiographical writing: They construct several versions of the "I" present in the text, and these versions of "I" are neither wholly separate from nor identical to each other. For Hurston, these generic complications are compounded by her situation, which demands that she describe a community of which she both is and is not a member; her present textual persona functions within this community as if she is a member, whereas her biographical persona realizes the degree to which she is not.
As an ethnologist eth·nol·o·gy
1. The science that analyzes and compares human cultures, as in social structure, language, religion, and technology; cultural anthropology.
2. in the rural South, Hurston is both insider and outsider; to the extent that she accepts this doubled and at times conflicted status as identity, her situation becomes uncomfortable. Because of the tendency of ethnography to exoticize its object of study, an ethnographer eth·nog·ra·phy
The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures.
eth·nog practicing autobiography would be forced to negotiate between a disciplinary practice which can sometimes seem to construct characters as odd or quaint and a simultaneous desire to represent herself realistically rather than romantically; in this sense, autoethnography could be argued to be an oxymoronic term (Raynaud, "Rubbing" 38; Carby 75-76.).(3) A child of Eatonville, Florida Eatonville is a town in Orange County, Florida, six miles north of Orlando. The population was 2,432 at the 2000 census. As of 2006, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 2,272. , Hurston returns there on her first trip as a professional ethnographer, not, she says, "so that the home folks could make admiration over me because I had been up North to college and come back with a diploma and a Chevrolet," but "because I knew that the town was full of material and that I could get it without hurt, harm or danger" (Mules 2). While her claim that she doesn't desire adulation ad·u·la·tion
Excessive flattery or admiration.
[Middle English adulacioun, from Old French, from Latin ad may be sincere, she nevertheless hopes to exploit her community's hospitality, persuading its residents to speak so that she may write. Hurston's activity may be without "hurt, harm or danger" to herself, but the community's resistance to her questions indicates that they perhaps sense some danger to themselves. At the very least, the nature of oral culture shifts when stories are cast in the permanence of print since a significant characteristic of the stories conveyed orally is their demand to be revised as they are retold re·told
Past tense and past participle of retell. . Although the men in Eatonville do consent to relate "them old-time tales" (Mules 8), her trip isn't entirely successful because outside of Eatonville, where residents know her immediately as Zora,
very little was said directly to me and when I tried to be friendly there was a noticeable disposition to fend me off. This worried me because I saw at once that this group of several hundred Negroes from all over the South was a rich field for folk-lore, but here was I figuratively starving to death in the midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost of plenty. (Mules 60)
Although she spent her childhood among these tales, she is suspected of merely impersonating a member of the rural community: "They all thought I must be a revenue officer or a detective of some kind. . . . The car made me look too prosperous" (Mules 60-61). She responds by impersonating someone on the other side of the law, "a fugitive from justice An individual who, after having committed a criminal offense, leaves the jurisdiction of the court where such crime has taken place or hides within such jurisdiction to escape prosecution. ," specifically a bootlegger (Mules 61). As her ethnographic career progresses - particularly as conveyed in the second section of Mules and Men, which describes hoodoo practices in Louisiana - Hurston is able to "go native" successfully precisely because she already is native, by which I mean more than that she is simply a local. She is not merely accustomed to hearing folk tales similar to the ones she collects; in this section she becomes apprenticed to hoodoo practitioners because she accepts these practices as authentic (Hemenway 122). By the time she constructs her ethnographic text, she has experiential knowledge Experiential knowledge is knowledge gained through experience as opposed to a priori (before experience) knowledge. In the philosophy of mind, the phrase often refers to knowledge that can only of the efficacy of the hoodoo she describes. Although she continues to notice events in terms of their ethnographic value, her anthropological lens is ground, perhaps, at a different angle than that of other conventionally trained anthropologists - she makes no claims to objectivity.
In Dust Tracks Hurston is more explicit about her initial inability to be simultaneously both insider and outsider; she cannot shed one persona for another as easily as she must if she is to succeed:
My first six months were disappointing. I found out later that it was not because I had no talents for research, but because I did not have the right approach. The glamor of Barnard College Barnard College: see Columbia University. was still upon me. I dwelt dwelt
A past tense and a past participle of dwell. in marble halls. I knew where the material was all right. But, I went about asking, in carefully accented Barnardese, "Pardon me, but do you know any folk-tales or folk-songs?" The men and women who had whole treasuries of material just seeping seep
intr.v. seeped, seep·ing, seeps
1. To pass slowly through small openings or pores; ooze.
2. To enter, depart, or become diffused gradually.
1. through their pores looked at me and shook their heads. . . . Oh, I got a few little items. But compared with what I did later, not enough to make a flea a waltzing jacket. Considering the mood of my going south, I went back to New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of with my heart beneath my knees and my knees in some lonesome lone·some
a. Dejected because of a lack of companionship. See Synonyms at alone.
b. Producing such dejection: a lonesome hour at the bar.
2. valley. (Dust Tracks 127-28)
Clearly, the narratorial self is constructed similarly in both texts as an individual able to critique her situation analytically and simultaneously at ease expressing that critique in colloquially col·lo·qui·al
1. Characteristic of or appropriate to the spoken language or to writing that seeks the effect of speech; informal.
2. Relating to conversation; conversational. figurative speech. This flea-sized waltzing jacket not only indicates the minuscule number of stories Hurston has collected but further suggests the performative per·for·ma·tive
Relating to or being an utterance that peforms an act or creates a state of affairs by the fact of its being uttered under appropriate or conventional circumstances, as a justice of the peace uttering character of the material itself, undermining any desire to perceive these stories as discrete, inert objects. Further, this image recalls Hurston's "tight chemise" cited earlier, the garment that constrains her from recognizing her culture as folk; both figures metaphorize clothing in order to demonstrate Hurston's inability to proceed with her anthropology while she is situated either entirely within or entirely beyond the boundary which distinguishes folk from academic culture (Mules 1).
Hurston's material is still more complicated, however, since the "life" that she is writing is neither clearly individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. nor comprehensively revealed. Although in urging her to write an autobiography her publisher asserted that Hurston's success in itself warranted one in the conventional sense, that of the unique individual rising above circumstances, and although Hurston does frequently present herself as different from many of her peers, the story she tells is not of the rugged American individualist in·di·vid·u·al·ist
1. One that asserts individuality by independence of thought and action.
2. An advocate of individualism.
in (Hemenway 279). She consistently attempts, that is, to portray herself as a member of a community even when her ability to communicate with her neighbors is compromised by her "Barnardese" - rather than as in opposition to that community. And the emphasis in both books shifts between the life and the self, the "bio" and the "auto"; the "graph" then is unable to stabilize any of the fluid boundaries of the self or the life, particularly that slippery border between them. Hurston's investment in the "graph" is itself debatable, since she identifies her own past as part of her folklore while identifying that lore as an event which shifts according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the telling. These texts are not specifically literary autobiographies; Hurston mentions her books only briefly, although she does frequently refer to the evolution of her consciousness, in childhood, as a reader and storyteller. More significant, perhaps, is the disjuncture dis·junc·ture
Disjunction; disunion; separation.
Noun 1. disjuncture - state of being disconnected
disconnectedness, disconnection, disjunction
separation - the state of lacking unity between Hurston's understanding of herself as a member of particular communities and the memberships her readers would ascribe as·cribe
tr.v. as·cribed, as·crib·ing, as·cribes
1. To attribute to a specified cause, source, or origin: "Other people ascribe his exclusion from the canon to an unsubtle form of racism" to her. For in identifying herself as a member of the African-American rural community while collecting her ethnographic material, Hurston insures her success not only among the members of that community - she is eventually able to gather the material - but also among her potential readers, who to a great extent will read her precisely because of and entirely in terms of that membership. Hurston's conflict occurs initially when she must turn her"objective" anthropological gaze upon her subjects,and eventually also her-self, while acknowledging the emotional resonance this culture retains for her(Hemenway 62). For her initial readers, however, tension arises when she constructs herself as also a member of national and international communities by commenting on national and international events, a declaration her editors were unwilling to accept.(4)
Here, perhaps, the historical shift in terminology is important, for in identifying herself as "Negro," Hurston would be identifying herself as by definition "not white"; to the extent that "American" has been historically (culturally if not always legally) collapsed into "white," Hurston would have been unable to identify herself as both "Negro" and "American." Because the power of definition resides with the dominant culture, whose members would perceive no necessity to identify themselves in terms of their own race, the dominant culture being the unmarked one, individuals who did describe themselves in terms of race would be perceived by the dominant culture as holding, at best, dual citizenship, a situation that is both unusual and suspect in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . A term such as African American would have sounded disconcerting dis·con·cert
tr.v. dis·con·cert·ed, dis·con·cert·ing, dis·con·certs
1. To upset the self-possession of; ruffle. See Synonyms at embarrass.
2. at best, for "American" is inclusive only to the extent that individuals are not perceived as retaining an-other citizenship.5 Individuals could not be simultaneously marked as Other and unmarked as American. If, as Gates suggests, dark skin constitutes an individual as a "cipher cipher: see cryptography.
(1) The core algorithm used to encrypt data. A cipher transforms regular data (plaintext) into a coded set of data (ciphertext) that is not reversible without a key. " - that is, both a code and a nonentity non·en·ti·ty
n. pl. non·en·ti·ties
1. A person regarded as being of no importance or significance.
3. Something that does not exist or that exists only in the imagination. , a code for zero - then an African American would be deciphered by whites only according to skin, and any experience beyond that clearly related to skin color would be invisible to whites and declared nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non (291). So Hurston, to be read, to be legible leg·i·ble
1. Possible to read or decipher: legible handwriting.
2. Plainly discernible; apparent: legible weaknesses in character and disposition. , must remain marked by the stylus of race, which erases some identities as it inscribes others.
Yet Hurston describes herself less as a member of a race than as a member of a particular community, one of whose characteristics is race. The life she writes begins when this community began generations before the life she lives. If she can open Mules and Men being "pitched headforemost into the world," she does not enter her autobiography as an embodied individual until chapter three. According to Dust Tracks, her emotional life begins before her corporal existence. Although she justifies, in a direct address to the reader, her choice to open her life prior to her conception with the assertion "you will have to know something about the time and place where I came from, in order that you may interpret the incidents and directions of my life," Hurston also suggests that there is no distinct separation between the site of her past and the embodiment of her self: ". . . I have memories within that came out of the material that went to make me. Time and place have had their say," and time and place must continue to have their say (1). The "material that went to make" her, however, exists paradoxically beyond as well as within the material realm: "time and place." Her self as she defines it is shaped by an inherited organic memory, a nearly bodily memory, a memory which precedes her knowledge of her community's history though it proceeds from that history.
This history, however, is, if not exactly apocryphal a·poc·ry·phal
1. Of questionable authorship or authenticity.
2. Erroneous; fictitious: "Wildly apocryphal rumors about starvation in Petrograd . . . , certainly influenced by its communal construction and oral transmission. In her determination to contextualize con·tex·tu·al·ize
tr.v. con·tex·tu·al·ized, con·tex·tu·al·iz·ing, con·tex·tu·al·iz·es
To place (a word or idea, for example) in a particular context. her life for her reader, Hurston appears to begin at a beginning well before her individual beginning, but she leaves this beginning undifferentiated undifferentiated /un·dif·fer·en·ti·at·ed/ (un-dif?er-en´she-at-ed) anaplastic.
Having no special structure or function; primitive; embryonic. in time. "It all started," she asserts without providing a clear grammatical antecedent ANTECEDENT. Something that goes before. In the construction of laws, agreements, and the like, reference is always to be made to the last antecedent; ad proximun antecedens fiat relatio. to "It." One could assume that "It" refers to Eatonville, but such an assumption would not be entirely accurate, since "it all started with three white men on a ship off the coast of Brazil." Since Hurston has already declared that Eatonville is "a pure Negro town," white men on a ship would seem to be irrelevant (Dust Tracks 1). "It" is not even the idea of Eatonville, since Hurston will subsequently reveal the genesis of the idea of Eatonville, but perhaps "It" is the chance, or possibility, of Eatonville. So the sentence could read "possibility all started . . . ," and already we are engaged with legend as much as history.
When Hurston moves toward her more direct personal history, she maintains the tone of legend: "Into this burly, boiling, hard-hitting, rugged-individualistic setting walked one day a tall, heavy-muscled mulatto MULATTO. A person born of one white and one black parent. 7 Mass. R. 88; 2 Bailey, 558. who resolved to put down roots" (Dust Tracks 7). This mulatto is John Hurston, Zora's father, and his past is subsequently revealed; but when he enters the text, he seems bigger than life and without known antecedent. John Hurston courts Lucy Ann Potts; against her parents' wishes, they marry and begin the generation which will include Zora. Hurston's own birth is also narrated within the generic conditions of legend: She is born in dire circumstances, saved through outside intervention, prophesied over, named somewhat mysteriously, threatened with natural disaster in the form of a hungry sow, and perhaps subjected to hoodoo. Of course, for Hurston, her birth is legend; despite her claim that she has "memories within that came out of the material that went to make me," she knows the details of her birth because they have been repeated to her - they comprise part of her oral culture. Because of peculiar details of her birth, one can imagine the story having been told and re-told until (and perhaps after) it attains the fixity fix·i·ty
n. pl. fix·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being fixed.
2. Something fixed or immovable. of print in her autobiography. Through her syntax, she stresses the oral tradition into which she is born: "This is all hear-say." The sentences describing her birth are constructed not as facts but as bits of speculation: "The saying goes like this . . . . It seems . . . . I have never been told . . . . I did hear . . . . It seems . . . ." (Dust Tracks 19). As an ethnographer gazing at herself, she is careful to distinguish between the episodes she observes and those she hears about. Syntactically, however, she doesn't become herself, a potential object of investigation, until she is named: "So I became Zora Neale Hurston" (21). If this autobiography were to follow conventional generic practices, the remainder of the text should reveal precisely how she becomes the individual classified according to that public name.
The text will approach this task, for Hurston moves from her birth to introspection introspection /in·tro·spec·tion/ (in?trah-spek´shun) contemplation or observation of one's own thoughts and feelings; self-analysis.introspec´tive
n. , yet the vast majority of the introspection she reveals occurs in childhood, and the questions she continues to ask throughout the text remain the questions of a child. Hurston, in other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , describes how she becomes herself in terms of her private self rather than approaching her private self through her public self, or through the persona her readers ascribe to her; she does not construct her autobiographical self as one authorized by her previous authorial activity. So despite the fact that she is writing an autobiography specifically because she has produced previous texts and hence readers, she does not approach her written self, the "I" in her autobiography, as a reader examining a writer, as a private individual investigating a public presence, but rather as an individual whose primary life is private. She reveals, in other words, enough of the life of her imagination to clarify how she has become the individual called Zora Neale Hurston but not the author classified as Zora Neale Hurston. For the most part, she writes as if unaware that readers will read her autobiography through their familiarity with the rest of her oeuvre.
After she receives her name, the child Hurston creates an additional opportunity for legend to develop around her by refusing to walk until what seems to her family to be an unusually late age. From the moment she takes her first steps, however, she acquires the urge to reach the horizon, the place where time and space meet. Her wanderlust unites interiority with distance, for she describes it as an "inside urge to go places" (22). Since in her childhood she can't go places physically, she burrows inward in order to travel imaginatively. Hurston frequently describes her life as a pilgrimage, that term which inflects "journey" with an awareness of its significance, with an assumption that travel has both purpose and destination. Indeed that purpose is destination. Simultaneously, Hurston presents the structures of her childhood beliefs as whimsically naive and reveals that her journey throughout childhood is ever toward disillusion dis·il·lu·sion
tr.v. dis·il·lu·sioned, dis·il·lu·sion·ing, dis·il·lu·sions
To free or deprive of illusion.
1. The act of disenchanting.
2. The condition or fact of being disenchanted. (Raynaud, "Rubbing" 34).
Hurston's initial portraits of herself present her as a girl who assumes a rightful existence in the world and who believes in the power of desire to achieve its own fulfillment. When the child Zora's beliefs are contradicted by empirical fact, Hurston's tone is ironic, though she generally retains sympathy for the longing that activates the child's imagination and thereby creates her fanciful mistakes. She opens her first example with an anecdote that ominously foreshadows her mother's death:
Naturally, I felt like other children in that Death, destruction and other agonies were never meant to touch me. Things like that happened to other people, and no wonder. They were not like me and mine. Naturally, the world and the firmaments careened to one side a little so as not to inconvenience me. In fact, the universe went further than that - it was happy to break a few rules just to show me preferences.
For instance, for a long time I gloated over the happy secret that when I played outdoors in the moonlight, the moon followed me, whichever way I ran. The moon was so happy when I came out to play, that it ran shining and shouting after me like a pretty puppy dog. The other children didn't count. (Dust Tracks 26)
In terms of themes that will emerge as the text progresses, this passage is paradoxical. Here, Hurston presents her belief that she is special in order to demonstrate that she is in fact typical, "like other children," and her attitude toward this deluded child is more cruel than endearing; she seems to conflate con·flate
tr.v. con·flat·ed, con·flat·ing, con·flates
1. To bring together; meld or fuse: "The problems [with the biopic] include . . "child-like" with "childish," nearly blaming her younger self for clinging to beliefs that would have been inappropriate and perhaps embarrassing if held by an older person, but that are entirely reasonable in a child (26). Yet, as Hurston presents herself growing toward adulthood, one of her goals will be precisely to illustrate her own character as unique, and she relies on these stories of her childhood for evidence (MacKethan 56).
At times Hurston does seem to have been a peculiarly introverted in·tro·vert·ed
Marked by interest in or preoccupation with oneself or one's own thoughts as opposed to others or the environment. and isolated child, living in a world inhabited only by characters of her own creation: Miss Corn-Shuck, Mr. Sweet Smell, Miss Corn-Cob, Reverend DoorKnob, and the Spool People. These found-toys, these personalities become semi-permanent tenants of her imagination, until her consciousness shifts and they fail to satisfy:
They all stayed around the house for years, holding funerals and almost weddings and taking trips with me to where the sky met the ground. I do not know exactly when they left me. . . . one day they were gone . . . . But there is an age when children are fit company for spirits. Before they have absorbed too much of earthy things to be able to fly with the unseen things that soar. There came a time when I could look back on the fields where we had picked flowers together but they, my friends, were nowhere to be seen. The sunlight where I had lost them was still of Midas['s] gold, but that which touched me where I stood had somehow turned to gilt. Nor could I return to the shining meadow where they had vanished. I could not ask of others if they had seen which way my company went. My friends had been too shy to show themselves to others. Now and then when the sky is the right shade of blue, the air soft, and the clouds are sculptured into heroic shapes, I glimpse them for a moment, and believe again that the halcyon hal·cy·on
1. A kingfisher, especially one of the genus Halcyon.
2. A fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea days have been. (Dust Tracks 56-57)
Again, the life of the imagination leads to disillusion. And Hurston's allusion to Midas is puzzling, since she apparently constructs Midas's gold as positive; clearly Midas's gold is "real," is substantial as opposed to gilt, but the point of the myth is that Midas's gold is undesirable (or that Midas's desire is undesirable). Perhaps the gold of memory is inevitably Midas's gold; perhaps in longing for her "halcyon days," Hurston is acknowledging that those days are desirable only while they remain unattainable. If Midas is among the "heroic shapes" constructed of clouds, then the "halcyon days" that "have been" occurred long before Hurston's birth, and the "age when children are fit company for spirits" is a mythic age. Hurston's longing for these idealized i·de·al·ize
v. i·de·al·ized, i·de·al·iz·ing, i·de·al·iz·es
1. To regard as ideal.
2. To make or envision as ideal.
1. days of childhood together with her discomfort at the child she remembers being suggests that one of her interests in this text is resolving that ambivalence.
Significantly, Hurston spends not merely an extraordinary chunk of her childhood wrapped in these fantasies, but she also devotes five pages of her autobiography to them. This tendency is consistent throughout Dust Tracks, and one must eventually question Hurston's motive in so privileging the interests of her childhood. Clearly, she considers the part of her childhood prior to her mother's death - that is, prior to her own adolescence - as the most pleasant phase of her life, and she may also consider it the most interesting. She may also be using these episodes to explore the life of her imagination, and the relationships among her childhood fantasies, her adult life, and her task of creating an autobiography, for she concludes a subsequent incident, one which also foregrounds her vivid childhood imagination as she persuades her peers that a neighbor has a secret life as an alligator alligator, large aquatic reptile of the genus Alligator, in the same order as the crocodile. There are two species—a large type found in the S United States and a small type found in E China. Alligators differ from crocodiles in several ways. , with the statement that "my phantasies Not to be confused with Phantastes, the novel by George MacDonald.
Phantasies is the name of a series of animated cartoons produced by the Screen Gems studio for Columbia Pictures from 1939 to 1946. were still fighting against the facts," a statement which the reader might be sorely tempted to revise into the present tense pres·ent tense
The verb tense expressing action in the present time, as in She writes; she is writing.
Noun 1. present tense - a verb tense that expresses actions or states at the time of speaking
Not all of Hurston's disillusion occurs as a direct, and perhaps expected, effect of her maturation however. Her emphasis on community throughout her autobiography may be an attempt to overcome her exclusion from it, to guarantee her inclusion by reconciling herself to her difference from it (Lenz 105). She loses her sense of her inherent right to a place in the world, her place as one for whom the universe is "happy to break a few rules," when she is enrolled at a boarding school subsequent to the death of her mother, when she becomes, in effect, a charity case, because her father fails to pay her fees (Dust Tracks 26). Hurston is confronted by this fact as if she herself is responsible, though the goal of the reprimand REPRIMAND, punishment. The censure which in some cases a public office pronounces against an offender.
2. This species of punishment is used by legislative bodies to punish their members or others who have been guilty of some impropriety of conduct towards them. is more likely to shame her than to insure payment:
Every few days . . . I was called in and asked what was I going to do. After a while she [a woman Hurston identifies only as the "Second in Command"] did not call me in, she would just yell out of the window to where I might be playing in the yard. That used to keep me shrunk up inside. I got so I wouldn't play too hard. The call might come at any time. My spirits would not have quite so far to fall. (77)
Hurston's growth is here expressed in terms of diminishment; as her age increases, the strength of her spirit decreases. Here, one suspects, any sunlight which surrounds her achieves only gilt. This profound disillusion occurs outside of her own community, but it also occurs by virtue of her exclusion from her natal community, as following her mother's death she has been sent away from Eatonville to school in Jacksonville. Although Hurston works off some of her fees by scrubbing stairs, the end of the school year finds her entirely without position:
I kept looking out of the window so that I could see Papa when he came up the walk to the office. But nobody came for me. Weeks passed, and then a letter came. Papa said that the school could adopt me. (79)
The school, however, declines, sending her literally up the river on a paddle boat with the price of a ticket in her pocket.
As all journeys will become for her, the trip itself is exciting, despite the impetus for it. But because her father has remarried, home will no longer resemble home for her; although she may keep her eyes on the horizon, although she may retain a destination, she's lost her point of departure. Hurston describes this emotional separation from her father as a beginning to a much longer pilgrimage, one characterized by poverty and alienation, as the way of her own cross:
My vagrancy vagrancy, in law, term applied to the offense of persons who are without visible means of support or domicile while able to work. State laws and municipal ordinances punishing vagrancy often also cover loitering, associating with reputed criminals, prostitution, and had begun in reality. . . . There was an end to my journey and it had happiness in it for me. It was certain and sure. But the way! Its agony was equally certain. It was before me, and no one could spare me my pilgrimage. The rod of complement was laid to my back. I must go the way. (83-84)
Hurston knows both the way and the end because she has been receiving visions for several years. Although they do not serve to structure the book, and although several of them are never described, the vision which portrays her emotional homelessness is significant to this chapter.(6) She again links landscape to her interior life, as if she is somehow simultaneously mendicant and eremite er·e·mite
A recluse or hermit, especially a religious recluse.
[Middle English, from Late Latin er :
So my second vision picture came to be. I had seen myself homeless and uncared Un`cared´
a. 1. Not cared for; not heeded; - with for. for. There was a chill about that picture which used to wake me up shivering. I had always thought I would be in some lone, arctic wasteland with no one under the sound of my voice. I found the cold, the desolate solitude, and earless silences, but I discovered that all that geography was within me. It only needed time to reveal it. (83)
In terms of the self and life Hurston is constructing, these visions have more symbolic than narrative value. Although they demonstrate that she has access to supernatural knowledge, the visions themselves neither drive the plot nor reveal Hurston's character nearly to the extent that, for example, her childhood fantasies do. Her experience of the visions is elaborated only when they are introduced, when Hurston perceives them for the first time. Then, she describes the experience of having the visions, though she does not describe the visions themselves:
Certainly I was not more than seven years old, but I remember the first coming very distinctly. . . . I saw a big raisin raisin, in botany and cooking
raisin, dried fruit of certain varieties of grapevines bearing grapes with a high content of sugar and solid flesh. Although the fruit is sometimes artificially dehydrated, it is usually sun-dried. lying on the porch and stopped to eat it. There was some cool shade on the porch, so I sat down, and soon I was asleep in a strange way. Like clearcut stereopticon stereopticon (stĕrēŏp`tĭkən), optical projection instrument making multiple use of the magic lantern. The magic lantern uses lenses to throw on a screen a magnified image from a transparent slide or from an opaque object such as slides, I saw twelve scenes flash before me, each one held until I had seen it well in every detail, and then be replaced by another. There was no continuity as in an average dream. Just disconnected scene after scene with blank spaces in between. I knew that they were all true, a preview of things to come, and my soul writhed writhe
v. writhed, writh·ing, writhes
1. To twist, as in pain, struggle, or embarrassment.
2. To move with a twisting or contorted motion.
3. To suffer acutely. in agony and shrunk away. But I knew that there was no shrinking. These things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. had to be. I did not wake up when the last one flickered and vanished, I merely sat up and saw the Methodist Church, the line of moss-draped oaks, and our strawberry patch stretching off to the left. (41-42)
As her experience at school will keep her "shrunk up inside" (77), here, too, her soul is said to have "shrunk away" (41); yet here she accepts the incident as justified through its mystery. She perceives these forthcoming events as inevitable and hence necessary, while the abuse of power she experiences at school is not only unnecessary but futile.
Since she elsewhere seems determined to present herself as unique, her extended attention to her fantasies - a "normal" childhood event - rather than to these visions would seem to subvert her intent; her tendency to present herself both as typical and singular can be read as contradictory impulses. Simultaneously, her insistence on her fantasy life Noun 1. fantasy life - an imaginary life lived in a fantasy world
fantasy, phantasy - imagination unrestricted by reality; "a schoolgirl fantasy" as unusual can be interpreted in terms of degree rather than kind; if many children engage in fantasy, theirs are not, perhaps, nearly so elaborate or extended as Hurston's.
In her life more than in herself perhaps, Hurston must negotiate the distinction between being perceived as unique and being exoticized. Occasionally, she describes herself as simply different from others, regardless of the race of those others, though her interpretation is implicitly that her trait is the superior one: "I was miserable, and no doubt made others miserable around me, because they could not see what was the matter with me, and I had no part in what interested them" (85); "I wanted what they could not conceive of Verb 1. conceive of - form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case; "Can you conceive of him as the president?"
envisage, ideate, imagine " (86); "I have read many books where the heroine was in love for a long time without knowing it. . . . That is not the way it is with me at all. I have been out of love with people for a long time. . . . But when I fall in, I can feel the bump" (181).
When she describes how others, especially white acquaintances, perceive her as unusual, however, she is much less comfortable. When this occurs during her teenage years, she argues that this reaction is independent of race, though as years pass she will acknowledge the significance of such a reaction. Working as a lady's maid to a singer when she is a teenager, Hurston is singled out for teasing by many members of the company. Although she attributes this attention to her speech rather than to her skin, her description of these interactions raises questions about her interpretation:
I was the only Negro around. But that did not worry me in the least. I had no chance to be lonesome, because the company welcomed me like, or as, a new play-pretty. It did not strike me as curious then. I never even thought about it. Now, I can see the reason for it.
In the first place, I was a Southerner, and had the map of Dixie on my tongue. They were all Northerners except the orchestra leader, who came from Pensacola. It was not that my grammar was bad, it was the idioms. They did not know of the way an average Southern child, white or black, is raised on simile simile (sĭm`əlē) [Lat.,=likeness], in rhetoric, a figure of speech in which an object is explicitly compared to another object. Robert Burns's poem "A Red Red Rose" contains two straightforward similes: and invective. (98)
Though Hurston can argue that this reaction is based on her speech, a regional rather than racial characteristic, her presentation of this experience indicates that the other members of the company interpreted her speech as a racial characteristic - they don't realize that white children also speak figuratively. Their attribution of her speech to her race is much more significant than her assertion that such a belief would be mistaken.
Later in her life and at a time presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. including the "now" when she says she "can see the reason for it," however, Hurston is less naive about such behavior (98). Beginning to study ethnography, she says, "The Social Register crowd at Barnard soon took me up, and I became Barnard's sacred black cow black cow
1. Chocolate milk.
2. Chicago A float made with root beer and vanilla ice cream.
[black + cow1 (from the ice cream used in making it).] . If you had not had lunch with me, you had not shot from taw" (122). Clearly, on this occasion Hurston both realizes and acknowledges the motive of her acquaintances - she's a "sacred black cow"; that is, she's sacred in being black. Yet her tone is ambiguous. Feeling herself exoticized, she declines to respond to that experience as hostilely as she might, perhaps because the success of this autobiography with a white audience depends on an exotic representation of herself. Simultaneously, she deflates an audience's ability to continue exoticizing her by unveiling her ability to read the members of her audience in ways that they cannot, perhaps, read themselves.
Because she is situated as both insider and outsider, not only among the African-American rural communities she studies, but also among the educated Northerners who will read her autobiography through her folklore and novels, and perhaps at times as folklore, Hurston's relationship to her genre(s) becomes particularly intriguing. She demonstrates that the men (primarily) who tell the tales are Signifying on other cultural texts, and she presents herself as Signifying at the conclusion of Mules and Men. At times, she also seems to Signify in Dust Tracks, although whether she perceives a double audience on these occasions - those who will decipher the code and those who will fail to recognize it - is unclear.
Signification SIGNIFICATION, French law. The notice given of a decree, sentence or other judicial act. can imply simply the comment one story makes upon another, but it can also be used strategically to camouflage meaning in terms of one audience while unveiling it for another. Ironically, this oral transmission of cultural knowledge is referred to in both of these texts as "lying." The men who spend their days on Eatonville's store porch don't tell stories; they tell "lies." Yet "lying" is not always used simply to refer to oral culture, and on several occasions Hurston admits to lying in order to achieve her goals. She claims to be a bootlegger to account for her apparent prosperity; she lies "to keep the peace" (Mules 151). These admissions then invite readers to suspect Hurston of lying on other unacknowledged occasions, until one questions the relationships among the various "lies" that are told throughout the texts. Because folktales are called lies, Hurston's lies - in the conventional sense - may serve a similar function: She tells lies in order to confirm her membership in the community. In this sense, any potential truth or error behind the text is irrelevant. If Hurston's subjectivity has been constructed through her membership in an oral culture, then the customs of this oral culture would presumably impinge im·pinge
v. im·pinged, im·ping·ing, im·ping·es
1. To collide or strike: Sound waves impinge on the eardrum.
2. on her adaptation of this culture to printed texts, although readers unaccustomed to oral traditions might not find themselves acclimated to a genre which understands itself as inherently unstable. To the extent that Dust Tracks is informed by the generic expectations of folklore, in which each telling of the tale revises as well as repeats, in which each version competes with every other version, in which one of the goals might consistently be to hit "a straight lick with a crooked stick" (Dust Tracks 1), then the autobiography would itself be an adaptation of the language of a self or life, rather than a representation of that self or life. Even Dust Tracks has been signified on in this way, and ironically the text itself is performing the signification despite assumptions about the stability of print. The current edition of Dust Tracks includes an appendix of three chapters Hurston had originally planned to include in the book. Although her original editor had insisted on substantial revisions and excisions, Henry Louis Gates, the current editor, has restored them while also retaining the chapters as they were originally published (Raynaud 36-37).
When Hurston claims that "anybody whose mouth is cut cross-ways is given to lying" (Dust Tracks 192), she does not clarify whether that lying is with an intent to entertain through exaggeration or to deceive through misrepresentation misrepresentation
In law, any false or misleading expression of fact, usually with the intent to deceive or defraud. It most commonly occurs in insurance and real-estate contracts. False advertising may also constitute misrepresentation. . She does generalize that African Americans characteristically provide satisfying if uninformative un·in·for·ma·tive
Providing little or no information; not informative.
unin·for answers to intrusive questions, and she includes herself among those who cultivate this practice:
We smile and tell him or her something that satisfies the white person because, knowing so little about us, he doesn't know what he is missing. . . . The Negro offers a feather-bed resistance. That is, we let the probe enter, but it never comes out. It gets smothered smoth·er
v. smoth·ered, smoth·er·ing, smoth·ers
a. To suffocate (another).
b. To deprive (a fire) of the oxygen necessary for combustion.
2. under a lot of laughter and pleasantries pleas·ant·ry
n. pl. pleas·ant·ries
1. A humorous remark or act; a jest.
2. A polite social utterance; a civility: exchanged pleasantries before getting down to business. . (Mules 2-3)
What seems to be revelation is camouflage. Language need not create vulnerability for the speaker. According to another folktale folktale, general term for any of numerous varieties of traditional narrative. The telling of stories appears to be a cultural universal, common to primitive and complex societies alike. , language can actively protect the speaker. In this tale, Mr. Jim Allen, an employee of a mill Hurston visits in Polk County Polk County is the name of twelve counties in the United States, all except two named after president of the United States James Knox Polk:
Excessively enthusiastic: overzealous movie fans; an overzealous manager.
o in his self-defense, he claims," 'Ah can't tell who my enemy is and who is my friend. You gimme gim·me
Contraction of give me.
Demanding material things or especially money; acquisitive: today's gimme society; tired of gimme letters.
n. dis protection in my mouf and Ah uses it'" (Mules 97). To the extent that this snake can represent human beings, the protection would be language rather than literal poison, since language is the individualizing characteristic humans hold in their mouths.
Yet on other occasions, lying in its negative sense is linked to race, or to racial epithet ep·i·thet
a. A term used to characterize a person or thing, such as rosy-fingered in rosy-fingered dawn or the Great in Catherine the Great.
b. , though Hurston again attempts to discount the specifically racialized nature of the comment with a footnote: "The word Nigger used in this sense does not mean race. It means a weak, contemptible con·tempt·i·ble
1. Deserving of contempt; despicable.
2. Obsolete Contemptuous.
con·tempt person of any race" (Dust Tracks 30). Yet, the word Nigger, however it is specifically defined, cannot fail to connote con·note
tr.v. con·not·ed, con·not·ing, con·notes
1. To suggest or imply in addition to literal meaning: "The term 'liberal arts' connotes a certain elevation above utilitarian concerns" dark skin. It can be transferred across races, as Hurston claims it is here, only through racist synecdoche synecdoche (sĭnĕk`dəkē), figure of speech, a species of metaphor, in which a part of a person or thing is used to designate the whole—thus, "The house was built by 40 hands" for "The house was built by 20 people." See metonymy. ; if characteristics of a "Nigger" include weakness and contemptibility con·tempt·i·ble
1. Deserving of contempt; despicable.
2. Obsolete Contemptuous.
con·tempt , then another "weak, contemptible person" could be metaphorized as a "Nigger," but the word itself does not lose its racial valence Valence, city, France
Valence (väläNs`), city (1990 pop. 65,026), capital of Drôme dept., SE France, in Dauphiné, on the Rhône River. . During this incident, Hurston is receiving advice from the "white man who had helped me get into the world," a white man who subsequent to his performance as midwife has demonstrated a particular interest in Hurston (Dust Tracks 30):
". . . don't be a nigger," he would say to me over and over. "Niggers lie and lie! Any time you catch folks lying, they are skeered of something. Lying is dodging. People with guts don't lie. They tell the truth and then if they have to, they fight it out. You lay yourself open by lying. . . . Truth is a letter from courage. I want you to grow guts as you go along. So don't you let me hear of you lying." (30-31)
At this point, Hurston declines to comment, either to the man or to the reader, on this advice. We have already seen, however, that one doesn't necessarily "lay [one's] self open by lying" (Dust Tracks 31); the "feather-bed resistance" Hurston describes is itself instruction in how to "fight it out" (Mules 2, Dust Tracks 31).
Hurston concludes Mules and Men with a story that indicates that she herself may be offering "feather-bed resistance," that the joke is on the reader. Hurston tells the story of Sis Cat, who was once reprimanded by a rat for failing to wash before she ate. When the cat does stop to wash, to practice her manners, the rat escapes. Subsequently, the cat claims," 'Oh, Ah got plenty manners, . . . . But Ah eats mah dinner and washes mah face and uses mah manners afterwards'" (245-46). Fooled once, the cat is twice wise. She's perfectly comfortable with the possibility that she will be perceived as ill-mannered, as uncivilized, perhaps even in the right circumstances as exotic, because her poor manners are strategic. Sis Cat understands the self-interest of the rat who purports to instruct her for her own good. Sis Cat recognizes the fact that conformity to the rules of her prey will guarantee her defeat and eventual demise.
So when Hurston concludes Mules and Men by Signifying on this tale, she seems to declare herself the one who laughs last: "I'm sitting here like Sis Cat, washing my face and usin' my manners" (246). The intriguing question for readers, of course, is who plays rat to her cat. One could assume that the rat represents the folktales that Hurston has caught, but a more probable, if uncomfortable, interpretation is that Hurston is positioning the reader as her rat. Susan Willis suggests that
we might say that Hurston's project is analogous to cussing out the master. But because her medium is the narrative, rather than oral language, she can't take refuge down at the gate and do her cussing in private. Instead, she must do her "specifying" in the form of a book Ole Massa Massa, in the Bible
Massa (măs`ə), in the Bible, seventh son of Ishmael.
Massa, city, Italy
Massa (mäs`ä), city (1991 pop. 66,737), capital of Massa-Carrara prov. can hold in his hands and read on his very own porch. (113)
If Ole Massa has become her audience, Hurston's closure is highly ironic. She's writing, then, to an audience which is paradoxically excluded from her audience, for Ole Massa is not among the community who participates in Hurston's lying sessions. Clearly distinguished from her community, her audience recognizes itself in the rat, unable to escape from the protection Hurston keeps in her mouth.
1. Critics disagree about the extent to which the generic distinctions between these two texts - or others of Hurston's works - can be deconstructed, but several do suggest that Mules and Men specifically is constructed in a similar fashion to an autobiography or a novel. Arnold Rampersad Arnold Rampersad (born 13 November 1941)is an acclaimed biographer and literary critic. The first volume his Life Of Langston Hughes was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He was born in Trinidad. argues that "the key to Mules and Men is precisely Hurston's finding of herself in the black folk world she described, and finding that black folk world, approached first by her as a student of anthropology, finally to be an unmistakable, ineradicable in·e·rad·i·ca·ble
Incapable of being eradicated.
ine·rad part of herself . . . "(xxiii). Sandra Dolby-Stahl argues that "Mules and Men is literature rather than ethnography" because Hurston "manipulated the grouping of material not toward the scholarly goal of generic classification but rather toward the literary goal of mimesis mimesis /mi·me·sis/ (mi-me´sis) the simulation of one disease by another.mimet´ic
1. The appearance of symptoms of a disease not actually present, often caused by hysteria. " (54, 56). Gunter H. Lenz makes a similar argument, suggesting that Hurston relies on both anthropological and fictional strategies to present rather than represent her material (180). D. A. Boxwell understands Hurston's presence as necessary in her ethnography because "anthropology requires the kinds of imaginative acts necessary to create fictional literature" (610). John F. Callahan John F. Callahan is literary executor for Ralph Ellison, and was the editor for his posthumously-released novel Juneteenth. In addition to his work with Ellison, Callahan has written or edited numerous volumes related to African-American literature, with a particular argues that Mules and Men is Hurston's initiation story within her presentation of the material she had collected (117).
2. By "literary autobiographies" I am thinking of such texts as Mary McCarthy's Memories of a Catholic Girlhood and How I Grew or Ellen Glasgow's The Woman Within, texts that understand the literary career of the author to be significant material and/or impetus for the autobiography.
3. Francoise Lionnet-McCumber describes Dust Tracks as "autoethnography" since the self presented in that text is perceived at times through the lens of anthropology.
4. Much has been written regarding Hurston's comments regarding race, slavery, and nationalism, which were excised from the original published version of Dust Tracks. In making this editorial decision, Lippincott declared these comments "irrelevant" to Hurston's autobiography, a declaration with significant implications regarding the relationship of the genre to any particular writer, for certainly writers perceived to have had public lives would not have been so prohibited (Hemenway 288).
5. Similar statements were debated throughout the Harlem Renaissance Harlem Renaissance, term used to describe a flowering of African-American literature and art in the 1920s, mainly in the Harlem district of New York City. During the mass migration of African Americans from the rural agricultural South to the urban industrial North . See, for example, Langston Hughes's "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain."
6. Several critics point to these visions as intended organizational devices for this book. To the extent that they might have been intended to perform such a function, their failure is obvious. However, I believe this argument can only be made by assuming that Hurston was constructing a linear, progressive narrative. As published, Dust Tracks adopts several other generic conventions, most prominently the essay, in which the insertion of these visions would perhaps be inappropriate. One of my points is that this text must be examined in terms of this generic mixture. See, for example, Hemenway (283) and Krasner (113).
Awkard, Michael, ed. New Essays on Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Cambridge UP, 1990.
Boxwell, D. A." 'Sis Cat' as Ethnographer: Self-Presentation and Self-Inscription in Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men." African American Review The African American Review is a quarterly journal and the official publication of the Division on Black American Literature and Culture of the Modern Language Association. 26 (1992): 605-17.
Braxton, Joanne M. Black Women Writing Autobiography: A Tradition within a Tradition. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1989.
Callahan, John F. In the African-American Grain: The Pursuit of Voice in Twentieth-Century Black Fiction. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1988.
Carby, Hazel V. "The Politics of Fiction, Anthropology, and the Folk: Zora Neale Hurston." Awkward 71-93.
Dolby-Stahl, Sandra. "Literary Objectives: Hurston's Use of Personal Narrative in Mules and Men." Western Folklore 51 (1992): 51-63.
Gates, Henry Louis Gates, Henry Louis (Jr.)
(born Sept. 16, 1950, Keyser, W.Va., U.S.) U.S. critic and scholar. Gates attended Yale University and the University of Cambridge. He has chaired Harvard University's department of Afro-American Studies for many years. . "Afterword af·ter·word
See epilogue. ." Mules and Men. By Zora Neale Hurston. New York: Harper Perennial Harper Perennial is a paperback imprint of the publishing house HarperCollins Publishers. Harper Perennial has divisions located in New York, London, Toronto, and Sydney. In Fall of 2005, Harper Perennial rebranded with a new logo (an Olive) and a distinct editorial direction , 1990. 287-97.
-----, and K. A. Appiah, eds. Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. New York: Amistad, 1993.
Glasgow, Ellen Glasgow, Ellen (glăs`gō), 1873–1945, American novelist, b. Richmond, Va. In revolt against the romantic treatment of Southern life, Glasgow presented in fiction a social history of Virginia since 1850, stressing the changing social order . The Woman Within. New York: Hill and Wang, 1980.
Hemenway, Robert E. Zora Neale Hurston: A Literary Autobiography. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1980.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston (James Langston Hughes), 1902–67, American poet and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance, b. Joplin, Mo., grad. Lincoln Univ., 1929. . "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." Nation 23 June 1926: 692-94.
Hurston, Zora Neale Hurston, Zora Neale, 1891?–60, African-American writer, b. Notasulga, Ala. She grew up in the pleasant all-black town of Eatonville, Fla. and, moving north, graduated from Barnard College, where she studied with Franz Boas. . Dust Tracks on a Road. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991.
-----. Mules and Men. 1935. New York: Harper, 1990.
Krasner, James. "The Life of Women: Zora Neale Hurston and Female Autobiography." Black American Literature American literature, literature in English produced in what is now the United States of America. Colonial Literature
American writing began with the work of English adventurers and colonists in the New World chiefly for the benefit of readers in Forum 23 (1989): 113-26.
Lenz, Gunter H. "Southern Exposures: The Urban Experience and the Re-construction of Black Folk Culture This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling.
You can assist by [ editing it] now. and Community in the Works of Richard Wright Noun 1. Richard Wright - United States writer whose work is concerned with the oppression of African Americans (1908-1960)
Wright and Zora Neale Hurston." History and Tradition in Afro-American Culture. Ed. Lenz. New York: Campus Verlag, 1984. 84-117.
Lionnet-McCumber, Francoise. "Autoethnography: The An-Archic Style of Dust Tracks on a Road. Gates and Appiah 241-66.
MacKethan, Lucinda H. "Mother Wit mother wit
Innate intelligence or common sense.
Noun 1. mother wit - sound practical judgment; "Common sense is not so common"; "he hasn't got the sense God gave little green apples"; "fortunately she had the good sense : Humor in Afro-American Women's Autobiography." Studies in American Humor American humor refers collectively to the conventions and common threads that tie together humor in the United States. It is often defined in comparison to the humor of another country - for example, how it is different from British humour or Canadian humour. 4 (1985): 51-61.
McCarthy, Mary McCarthy, Mary (Therese)
(born June 21, 1912, Seattle, Wash., U.S.—died Oct. 25, 1989, New York, N.Y.) U.S. novelist and critic. She served on the editorial staff of the Partisan Review from 1937 to 1948. . How I Grew. New York: Harcourt, 1987.
-----. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. New York: Harcourt, 1957.
Rampersad, Arnold. "Foreword." Mules and Men. By Zora Neale Hurston. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990. xv-xxiii.
Raynaud, Claudine. "Autobiography as a 'Lying' Session: Zora Neale Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road." Black Feminist Criticism and Critical Theory. Ed. Joe Weixlmann Joseph Norman Weixlmann, Jr., is the Provost of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1946.
After serving as an English professor for decades, Weixlmann became the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Indiana State University. and Houston A. Baker, Jr. Greenwood: Penkevill, 1988. 111-38.
-----. "'Rubbing a Paragraph with a Soft Cloth': Muted Voices and Editorial Constraints in Dust Tracks on a Road." De/Colonizing the Subject: The Politics of Gender in Women's Autobiography. Ed. Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1992. 34-64.
Willis, Susan. "Wandering: Hurston's Search for Self and Method." Gates and Appiah 110-29.
Lynn Domina's most recent publications include articles on N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn and Mary McCarthy's autobiographies. She completed her Ph.D. in May 1997; her dissertation considers American women's autobiography and the construction of national identity. With Peter Naccarato, she is editing a collection of essays tentatively titled Constructing Nations/Constructing Selves: Nationalism and Subjectivity in the Americas.