A Cultural Psychologist: Zora Neale Hurston

Essay by youneverstrayHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2003

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A Cultural Psychologist

To talk about Zora Neale Hurston's writing, one has to analyze her personality, and that is the most difficult task anyone can attempt. While no one can truly know about all the aspects of another's life, their dreams, hopes and fears, Hurston made sure her ideas were heard subsequently becoming a very prolific writer.

Zora Neale Hurston was born January 7th to John Hurston and Lucy Ann Potts in Eatonville, Florida. Though Hurston states her birth year as 1903, it actually falls in 1891, as validated by one of her brothers. She came into life with determination and a head full of dreams. "I used to climb to the top of one of the huge chinaberry trees which guarded our front gate and looked out over the world. The most interesting thing that I saw was the horizon...It grew upon me that I ought to walk out to the horizon and see what the end of the world was like" (Howard 14).

The direction of her life was set, as was the focus of her writing.

The town of Eatonville where she grew up made a great impact on her life. In the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Lillie Howard states, "The all black, incorporated, self-governed town of Eatonville fostered and nurtured the strong, unshakable sense of self that was later to inform Hurston's fiction and govern her life" (134). She lived there the first thirteen years of her life. When her mother died and her father remarried she was passed around to different family members, not wanted by her stepmother. She attended school sporadically, but did finally graduate from Morgan Academy in 1918. She went directly to Howard University where she took classes off and on until 1924.

While studying at Howard, she met the poet...