Thursday, June 9, 2016

Zora as inspiration to Alice Walker

Zora wearing pants

Many attended the kickoff event and listened to Dr. Rafia Zafar talk (see more from Dr. Zafar in her Library of America blog post) about Zora Neale Hurston and others have read the readers guide from the library or are making progress on “Jonah’s Gourde Vine.” I spent a little time reading “Zora Neale Hurston: a literary biography” by Robert E. Hemenway with a forward by Alice Walker.  The forward is really a love letter to Zora and tells of how Walker discovered her work and what it meant to her.  She talks about Zora giving her the perfect book.  The contents showed very regular black Americans in a way that made their typical stories marvelous.  As Walker learned more about Zora, she admired more about her.  She was funny, irreverent, good-looking, sexy, and confident.  She was curious and traveled “to find out anything she simply had to know” (p. xv).  She wore pants and lit up cigarettes in public during a time when it wasn’t acceptable lady like behavior.  In short, Zora lived life on her terms, not as someone else prescribed.  We probably all need exposure to someone who reminds us that we have options and choices.  Someone who inspires us because we can relate to them and respect them.  For Alice Walker, that person was Zora Neale Hurston.

Sure enough, she is smoking!

No comments:

Post a Comment