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Zora Neale

Picture for US Postal Stamp, 2003
Early Life

• 1891 – 1960
• I “grew like a gourd
and yelled bass like a gator.”
• Notasulga, Alabama
• Eatonville, Florida
• Father: carpenter, preacher, mayor
• Mother: died 1904 “jump at the sun.”
Education and Career

• Howard University (1920)

• Harlem Renaissance
• 1927: founded Fire!
• Barnard College
• Columbia University
• Anthropology and Folklore
• Teacher, librarian, and domestic

• Short story published in 1926.

• “Sweat” tells the story of a domestically
abused, religiously devout laundress and her
adulterous, deadbeat husband.
• The dominant theme is good versus evil, but
the story also incorporates the themes of
hard work versus laziness and fate.

• Main protagonists Delia Jones and her

husband Sykes.
• Throughout the piece, Delia’s character is associated with symbols of
purity and virtue, such as her church attendance, her laundry washing
and her loyalty.

• Sykes represents vice through his extramarital affairs, his loafing and
his violence toward Delia.
Early Critical Reception of
• Debbie C. Hallace goes on to say in her book Forming our own Thoughts, “It shall be
that movement of verbal communication that ‘talking back,’ will be no mere signal of
hollow letters and characters that is the appearance of our association from thing to
issue” (Hallace 11).
• In a criticism article written by Stephanie Calcker, “Zora Neale Hurston had
the belief that the resist with racial discrimination is sufficient for blacks
powers to the thought that the final and last object wanted by black men at
that time was to put below and deeper down by the black women” ( Calcker
Other Works

• Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934 [1991]

• Mules and Men, 1935
• Their Eyes Were Watching God 1937
• Tell My Horse, 1938
• Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939
• Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942
• Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948