Hurston, Zora Neale

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1959), with her determined intelligence and humor, quickly became a big name in the NYC’s Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. She had a dual career as a writer (producing novels, short stories, plays, and essays) and as an anthropologist. She traveled the world doing fieldwork in places like Jamaica and Haiti, studying African rituals and voodoo. Anthropology, folkloric, and ethnographic studies played a part in her writings, which led to both praise and criticism.

Hurston was the first black student at Barnard College, and also studied at Howard University and Columbia. She was also a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Their Eyes Were Watching God is her best known work. Much of her later work was not as successful its the time. Hurston’s reputation faded, and she lived the rest of her life in poverty. It wasn’t until long after her death that her work was rediscovered and finally appreciated for its integrity and depth. The author Alice Walker played a great part in reviving Hurston’s reputation, who is now studied and appreciated far more than she was during her lifetime.

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Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

“Research is formalized curiousity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein.” (Dust Tracks on the Road, 1942)

“I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions.”

“I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.” (Jonah’s Gourd Vine, 1934)

“Learning without wisdom is a load of books on a donkey’s back.”

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937)

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.” We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.” (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942)

“No man may make another free.”

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein.”

“I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads.”

“Once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again.”

“Gods always behave like the people who make them.” (Tell My Horse, 1938)

“I want a busy life, a just mind, and a timely death.”

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”

“If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself ‘Why?”‘afterwards than before … There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.”

“Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil.”

“Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.”

“Love, I find is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much.” (Dust Tracks on the Road, 1942)

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937)

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

“Once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again.”

“I accept this idea of democracy. I am all for trying it out. It must be a good thing if everybody praises it like that. If our government has been willing to go to war and sacrifice billions of dollars and millions of men for the idea I think that I ought to give the thing a trial. The only thing that keeps me from pitching head long into this thing is the presence of numerous Jim Crow laws on the statute books of the nation. I am crazy about the idea of Democracy. I want to see how it feels.” (“Crazy for This Democracy in Negro Digest, December 1945)

Zora Neale Hurston

 

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