Masters would place little black coffins outside the cabins of the slaves in a effort to restrain their movements at night; they perpetuated ghost lore and created tales of horrible supernatural animals wondering the outsides of the plantation in order to frighten slaves from escape or trans-plantation visits. Tales of slaves running to the north became legendary. Oral tales of escapes and long journeys north through dangerous terrain were very common among every slave on every plantation. Many of these tales seem to be similar to the universal tales and myths like The Odyssey or Gilgemish. Slaves on every plantation were telling tales that would later be the groundwork for African-American literature.African- American folklore has since been taken to new levels and forms.
Writers have adopted these themes and have fit them into contemporary times. Most recently author Toni Morrison has taken the African- American folklore themes and adapted them to fictional literature in her novels. Morrison comments on her use of the African-American oral tradition in an interview with Jane Bakerman. "The ability to be both print and oral literature; to combine those aspects so that the stories can be read in silence, of course, but one should be able to hear them as well. To make a story appear oral, meandering, effortless, spoken. To have the reader work with the authorin construction of the book- is what's important"(Bakerman 122).In all of Morrison's novels it is easy to see her use of African- American folklore along with traditional fict...
... middle of paper ...
...fluence of African- American folklore is all over the novels The Bluest Eye and Sula. With Morrison demanding participatory reading just like an oral tale to the evil and strangeness in some of her characters, Morrison tells stories rich with African- American folklore. Her settings, characters, and the issues she explores, tell of the history of the Black race in America. The oral tradition of African- American folklore is a way for Morrison to educate and analyze what the black race is all about.
Work Cited PageCentury, Douglas. Toni Morrison: Author New York: Chelsea Publishing, 1994Childress, Alice. "Conversations with Toni Morrison" "Conversation with Alice Childress and Toni Morrison" Black Creation Annual. New York: Library of Congress, 1994. Pages 3-9Harris, Trudier. Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Toni Morrison Knoxville: The university of Tennessee press, 1991Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Plume, 1973Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Plume, 1970Stepto, Robert. "Conversations with Toni Morrison" Intimate Things in Place: A conversation with Toni Morrison. Massachusetts Review. New York: Library of Congress, 1991. Pages 10- 29.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford on February 18th, 1931, in the small town of Lorain, Ohio. She was the second born of her four siblings that her mother, Ramah Willis, and father, George Wofford, had. Morrison grew up during the Great Depression, which had begun in 1929. Growing up, Morrison heard stories about the violence that took place against African Americans. Both sets of Morrison’s grandparents were a part of the “Great Migration”, which took place during the early 1900s. Her maternal grandparents left the city of Greenville, Alabama, in 1910 due to the loss of their farm.... [tags: music, african american folklore]
1135 words (3.2 pages)
- African American Culture through Oral Tradition African American folktales have origins rooted in West African literary and cultural forms of expression. When Africans were taken from their homeland and brought to America as slaves, they also brought with them their individual cultures, languages and customs. However, their white slaveholders suppressed this part of their heritage in them. Thus they had to find other ways of expression, mainly story telling and songs. It is incredible to see how African slaves could ever smile and laugh under the horrible and cruel circumstances, which were imposed on them by the brutal slaveholders.... [tags: Essays Papers]
3414 words (9.8 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston was best known for her novels and different collections of folklore. She was a writer who associated with the Harlem Renaissance that celebrated the African American culture of the south. Her first novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, was a best-selling novel in 1937. Zora Neal Lee Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Eatonville, Florida. She was the fifth of the eight children to Lucy Ann Potts and John Hurston (“Zora Hurston” 3). Her mother had died in 1904 when she was thirteen.... [tags: Novels, Folklore Collection, Analysis, Biography]
1005 words (2.9 pages)
- Many critics have categorized Richard Wright’s characters as racist. They feel that his writing did not help, but hurt the African America community. African American critics say that his writings amplified the preconceived notions of whites that black people could not be trusted, were not worthless, and were incapable of making decisions on their own. His critics wanted black writers to be portrayed as trustworthy, educated, and were equally. Through his writings, Richard Wright was able to share with the world the hatred, fear, and violence that African American men face, including himself experienced on a day to day basis.... [tags: biography, racist, unstable childhood]
1334 words (3.8 pages)
- ... Good health for many racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, good health is hard to obtain, mainly because proper care is often associated with a person's race, economic status and gender. Despite obvious progress in the overall health of the population, African americans living in North Dakoata continue to suffer from disparities and caring the burden of illness and death. These disparities are assumed to be the result of genetic mutations, environmental influences, inadequate access to care, poor quality of care, poverty and violence and specific health practices.... [tags: life expectancy, white population]
667 words (1.9 pages)
- The Harlem Renaissance was the period in history from 1919 to 1940 where the beauty, strength, and intelligence of the African American people shone brightly through profound cultural and artistic expression in literature, art, and theatre. There was a transformation in African American identity and history, but more importantly for the first time in American history, Americans read the thoughts of blacks and embraced their productions, literature, and art (Gates Jr. and McKay). The Harlem Renaissance Revisited Renaissance is used by historians to characterize some moment in culture that once dormant, has been reawakened.... [tags: migration, articulation, self confidence]
746 words (2.1 pages)
Response to the Article on Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.
- I recently read your article titled “Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Your article mentions how Zora Neal Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God while she was collecting folklore on Vodou in Haiti. You proceed to discuss the Haitian Vodou imagery present in the novel as well as the influence that it had. You claim that Hurston’s use of Haitian Vodou doesn’t signal a rejection of modernity, but rather an acknowledgement of it (158).... [tags: imagery, goddess, race]
963 words (2.8 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston and Maya Angelou are arguably the most influential writers of the mid 20th century . Their work has inspired young African Americans to have more confidence in their own abilities. Their work has also been studied and taught countless times in many schools across the U.S. But the main reason why their work is considered classics in American literature; is because their work stands as testament to the treatment, and struggles of African Americans in the mid 20th century America.... [tags: African-American, Authors]
616 words (1.8 pages)
- From history to today, African Americans have been discriminated due to their skin color. Although African Americans are still being judged today, many movements from the past have been active to stop the racial tensions. A person that showed and introduced racism toward plays is Alice Childress. Childress is an African American (Black) woman who is an actress, novelist, and playwright. Childress was the first Black woman that directed an off Broadway play that touches upon the themes of feminist, romance, biographical, socio-politic, and history.... [tags: African Americans, Discrimination, US History]
1240 words (3.5 pages)
- The Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance refers to a prolific period of unique works of African-American expression from about the end of World War I to the beginning of the Great Depression. Although it is most commonly associated with the literary works produced during those years, the Harlem Renaissance was much more than a literary movement; similarly, it was not simply a reaction against and criticism of racism. The Harlem Renaissance inspired, cultivated, and, most importantly, legitimated the very idea of an African-American cultural consciousness.... [tags: African American Art Essays]
1171 words (3.3 pages)