Question

Compare Zora Neal Hurston with Toni Morrison writings on racial pride and social equality

Compare Zora Neal Hurston with Toni Morrison writings on racial pride and social equality

Homework Answers

Answer #1
  • Both writers share an interest in women, what they are, what they can be, and what they need; and in the role of the community as a moral evaluator.  Both Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston had unprecedented achievement for black American women writers.
  • In two short novels, Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison have sensitively examined a full range of women's emotions and needs. Portrayed in Sula and in Their Eyes Were Watching God are women who fear for their children and grandchildren, women who need strong friendships with other women, women who explore relationships with men, and women who are determined to seize whatever personal freedom and satisfaction they can.
  • The racist and patriarchal nature of American society, what Morrison refers to as the master narrative of our culture, places blacks and women and especially black women in a position of powerlessness and vulnerability. Communities serve as a protective buffer within which black women must function in order to survive. However both Hurston and Morrison identify and criticize how the patriarchal nature of the master narrative is present in black communities.
  • Feminist theory and its elements play a significant role in Hurston’s and Morrison’s novels. The authors portray the lives of two African American women as well as their position within the black community and American society in general.
  • The novels are particularly concerned with patriarchal, sexual dominance of black men over women.In Their Eyes Janie’s husbands seem to be threatened by her body and her selfconfidence and, therefore, they exhibit some form of violent behavior to remind her that they are superior; whereas in Beloved Sethe is abandoned by every man because of their inability to dominate her and their lack of manliness. Both novels convey the message that black men are mentally handicapped by their incapacity to fulfill the phallocentric ideal of masculinity.
  • The issues of black femininity and masculinity are implemented throughout both novels, yet the authors use different approaches. Hurston addresses these issues through the description of men’s violent outbursts and misogyny, while Morrison portrays her men as cowards and emotional cripples who feel threatened by women and their independence.
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