Monday, February 27, 2006

Black Boy

Although we have talked about the different points of view both in writing and in politcal views of Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright in class, I don't think I fully realized how opposite the writers are in many ways. For instance, while Hurston touches very little on the idea of violence and fear as part of black heritage in Their Eyes Were Watching God, this is the main driving force in the thinking and actions of Wright in his early years, which he writes about in Black Boy. For instance, Wright depicts the troubles of living in a poverty stricken Memphis as a young black boy and having to beat his peers in order to gain the "right" to the Memphis streets. Perhaps Hurston's picture of life is a better depiction for the black woman in the 1930's than Wright's would be for a woman, but I find myself considering Janie's life rather fictionalized when reading Wright's depiction of hunger and fear. Although Janie struggles withing herself throughout the novel, her deepest struggles are those of loneliness and loss, never being physically hungry or in want of anything but love. Then again, I could almost consider my life as untroubled and unsuffering as Janie in comparison to many other white people who have lived through poverty, hunger, and fear. There is a broad spectrum of people and situations out there, especially in the U.S., and I suppose it's very hard to make generalizations about one race or culture strictly by those guidelines alone.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Chap. 12-17

In the first few chapters of this reading, I thought that things would end up the same for Janie with Tea Cake as they had with all her other husband. He didn't show her all of her true self until after they were married, and she found out some things about him that she didn't want to know. I thought that the gambling would make her think twice about Tea Cake, but instead when he came back it solidified her trust in him. I find myself wondering what causes Janie to leave Tea Cake and come back to Phoeby in the beginning of the book. They seem to be truly in love, and I wonder what will possibly push them apart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Chap. 7&8

"Then one day she sat and watched the shadow of herself going about tending store and prostrating itself before Jody, whle all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair and her clothes. Somebody near about making summertime out of lonesomeness."

I thought this quote was interesting because it shows the way in which Janie was able to endure Jody's insults and rules throughout the marriage. She was still felt very lonesome, as one can see from the second sentence, but she found a way of comforting herself and forgetting or relieving some of that loneliness. She went back to her view of love a child, that nature shows the true beauty of love. Janie let her "self" bask in the love of nature during the days, while her body merely went about everyday work in the store. By elevating her mind to another place, one without the heartache and loneliness she truly felt, Janie was able to live with Joe as her husband until his death.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How It Feels To Be Colored Me

"I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief."
"I remember the very day that I became colored."

I liked the way that Hurston uses humor throughout her essay when talking about such sensitive subjects as race, racism, and prejudice. She makes her view of race clear through the way that she jokes and plays around with the idea of being colored and what it means to her. For instance, in the first quote above she pokes fun at the idea that many African American claim to have some Indian in them as well. She says that she is
"the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief." By saying this, she both states that she is not ashamed of her heritage and makes fun of those who must make excuses for the color of their skin. In the second quote above, Hurston talks about her not understanding the meaning of being "colored" until she came into a mainly white community. She recalls it as "the very day she became colored", which is humorous because people don't simply turn colored one day. She faces racism with such blunt statements, but makes light of the situation with the humor she uses.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Harlem Renaissance

To me, it sounds like the black community handled themselves with great dignity during the Harlem Renaissance. They firmly insisted on being accepted as part of American society, but they don't sound as if they exuded the air of arrogant superiority as the white community did. Instead, they fought racism and prejudice by gaining education and becoming productive and innovative members of society. Instead of being upset, angry, or bitter about their situation, the black community came together in a celbration of their identity and formed a strong collective voice that could not be ignored.