The South: The Creation of the African American Community in The Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The South: The Creation of the African American Community in The Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Length: 689 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The concept of a new beginning is a repetitive theme that occurs in African American literature, mostly, in the geographical form of The South. Used as a literary landscape, The South is more than a representation of the horrors that African-Americans had endured during the time of slavery. It is there that African-Americans developed a society and culture that was constructed through the struggles of their ancestors and the mechanisms that had developed to survive. The history of their people is embedded throughout the soil of the landscape and it is from there a new future can arise. It also gave them religion and spiritual connections to their ancestors. Negro spirituals—whose original purpose was to guide slaves to freedom and increase morale—had developed into different styles of music that brought them hope and fulfillment. Communities were developed and lifestyles were adapted in order to create an identity for themselves. African-Americans had created a home out of the place that had oppressed them for many years.
The South is where African-Americans started their own independence and happiness, in spite, of their gruesome history. Many had decided to leave behind their roots in exchange for a better life in the north, but many chose to stay. Was the call of their ancestors too strong to leave behind? If they chose to leave The South then they would be disregarding their instilled sense of community. This geographical landscape allowed them to build private societies that separated them from white authorities and their abusive control.
“Along with other black children in small Southern villages, I had accepted the total polarization of the races as a psychological comfort. Whites existed, as no one denied, but they were n...


... middle of paper ...


...entitlement to the land that African-Americans lived on and aided in the creation of their culture. In addition, knowing their ancestral roots allowed for the development of new phrases (i.e., ’18 & 23’s) and community leadership. “’Cause if Mama Day say no, everybody say no.” (Gilyard & Wardi, 313).
While the North provided more opportunities for African-Americans they had developed a strong sense of incompleteness. An emptiness that many would find to be too hard to ignore and refused to leave the only home they knew. Communities that allowed them to separate themselves from a cruel society were built and enabled them to experience happiness and peace. It allowed African-Americans to reconnect with their ancestors and develop a culture to pass on to future generations. The notion of The South represents hope and the start of a new beginning for African-Americans.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »