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The Harlem Renaissance Movement By Zora Neale Hurston

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History.com (2009) describes the Harlem Renaissance movement as “a literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that kindled a new black cultural identity.” The 1920s and 1930s emcompass a time in history where blacks found themselves ostracized from mainstream society. It was uncommon to see the expressions of black artistry in everyday life, especially on a literary level.
Zora Neale Hurston, a novelist, folklorist, and Ethnographical Anthropologist was born in 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama but raised in Eatonville, Florida. Eatonville was one of the first all-black communities in the United States of America. Hurston had the benefit of being brought up in a thriving society that fostered prestige and education. Hurston became immersed
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Their individual perspectives in life ultimately shaped their education, experiences and overall point of view. This essay will outline the similarities and differences in subject matter, tone and imagery of these two artists’ bodies of work.
In Hurston’s first piece of work, “Spunk”, won second place in an Opportunity magazine’s literary contest used a woman’s love triangle. Subsequently, in 1925, Hughes also won first place in the same Opportunity magazine’s contest for “Weary Blues”, a musical poem (blues) about a man playing his piano sullenly. The authors’ perceptions about the world around them greatly influenced their work. Hurston grew up with a free spirit and open heart whereas Hughes’ perspective is bleak because of his identity as a black man. Although Hughes identified as a black man, it is clear in his subject matter was an internal struggle with himself. Hughes’ dismal display of Negro life was a very controversial aspect of his writings, while Hurston suffered for her subject matter, focusing on a more uplifting view of Black life.
In “Weary Blues” Negros seems to be the subject. ” I heard a Negro play“, “Coming from a black man’s soul”, “With his ebony hands on each ivory key”, etc. you can paint a mental picture of how dark the subject is. (Poets.org) At this point, with every melody in the poem, you know that the person was a Negro. His entire
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