The Theme Of African American Literature In Zora Neale Hurston

analytical Essay
1784 words
1784 words

African American literature has evolved a tremendous amount over the centuries. The core themes have continued to grow with the African Americans and their fight for equality. A core theme throughout the works of African Americans has been freedom, and I believe this theme has evolved from wanting freedom, to getting freedom (yet still being segregated), to fighting for their freedom, to finally acting free and coming into their own. This progression would also be used to describe the evolution of the theme of equality as well. The African Americans wanted their equality, they fought for it, and soon began to write of themselves as true equals. These themes of freedom and equality, whether it be of African Americans in general, or even African …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the themes of freedom and equality have remained constant throughout african american literature, based on what was going on during the time periods.
  • Explains that african americans were subjected to stereotypes for so long that they didn't know who they were. they found their sound in music, their voices in literature, and their place in the world.
  • Analyzes how the ballad "the sinking of the titanic" relates perfectly to the idea of freedom in african american literature.
  • Describes sojourner truth as an intelligent and strong-willed woman who fought for her freedom. she was born into slavery but escaped in 1826 with her daughter.
  • Analyzes how james weldon johnson's novel, "the autobiography of an ex-colored man," embodied what it truly meant to be free once slavery had been abolished.
  • Analyzes how zora neale hurston's writing exemplifies the theme of accepting themselves and their culture during this time period.
  • Opines that freedom has been a common theme throughout history in african american literature, but the way it was addressed is based on the time period in which was writing the piece.

Unlike the earlier era, in which they had received freedom but it was so new to them, and they truly didn’t understand what it meant to be a free group, they began to move into a time period where they were finding their voice, and “finding their freedom”. Instead of writing about becoming free, and wanting freedom, they begin to act free. They begin to prove they were free by giving off confident in their culture and in their work. In her writing she has many different subsections where she rebuttals the ideas pushed onto the African American race. She proves the stereotypes wrong using the truth. The first example is, under the section titled “originality” she wrote, “it has been said so often that the negro is lacking in originality that has almost become a gospel. Outward signs seem to bear this out. But if one looks closely its falsity is immediately evident.” and , “So if we look at it squarely, the Negro is a very original being. While he lives and moves in the midst of a white civilian, everything that he touches is re-interpreted for his own use. He has modified the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly the religion of his new country, just as he adapted to suit himself the sheik haircut made famous by Rudolph Valentino.” this passage shows how much she believes in her race. She isn’t asking for anything from anyone. She doesn’t beg for respect, acceptance, or freedom, she is telling them to treat them like they are free. This passage really exemplifies the theme of accepting themselves and their culture during this time period. The African Americans were able to begin to stand up for themselves and up against the falsely acclaimed stereotypes that have been made against them. During this time period they were recreating the culture that had been taken away from them. They were finding their voice through

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