Literary Modernism

Discussion questions – Hurston

Zora Neal Hurston attended Howard University, then Barnard College, and studied anthropology while becoming a popular figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Her studies earned her a post-graduate fellowship to study Southern black folktales. These folktales become the basis for her fiction. During her life, Hurston’s writing, while popular with general audiences, was not well-received by critics, particularly black literary reviewers who wanted her to focus more on racial inequality. After being wrongly accused of a crime, Hurston finished her career in poverty and obscurity. She has recently become an extremely important writer for her depictions of black women, particularly in the now-acclaimed Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).

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2. Hurston’s “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” is a modernist-style literary montage—a series of (loosely organized) images, impressions, memories, observations on experiencing life as a black woman. The montage is quite humorous since she often states that she doesn’t know what “colored” is. The montage can be broken down into a diverse set of themes. Find 1 passage for each theme:

a. earliest memories of life before she knew what “race” was

b. the idea of “race” is imposed on her by others

c. moments where she recognizes her racial identity emerging suddenly

d. she lives a life that is bigger than what “race” tells her she must be

Please use the Answer Sandwich method to answer each question. The passages you add to your answer should be around 2-4 sentences long. Please include a page reference.

Keep in mind that I may select any of these questions to be the upcoming quiz question. Also, I use these discussion questions to create the exams and the major paper assignment. So do your best on each question.

What Is Ethical Judgment?

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