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  • Writer's pictureEvangeline Lawson

The Complete Stories by Zora Neale Hurston

"Drip, drip, drip, went her daughter's tears on the old woman's heart, each drop calcifying a little the fibers till at the end of four days the petrifying process was complete. Where once had been warm, pulsing flesh was now cold heavy stone, that pulled down pressing out normal life and bowing the head of her. The woman died, and in that heavy cold stone a tiger, a female tiger—was born." Black Death By Zora Neale Hurston

Truth? I don't read a book of short stories from beginning to end or in order. I like to jump around and get surprised by what lies within the pages. Some stories are more suitable for certain moods you know? For example, Black Death was great night reading for those who don't scare easily. It was reminiscent of the movie Eve's Bayou, but in just six pages.

Zora Neale Hurston paints the most vivid pictures through her description of characters, and stays true to the culture and context, through the use of language written as it was actually spoken. She spares no expense in describing even the smallest detail. For example, in the above passage we are reading of a mother who is hurt for her daughter. So hurt, that she becomes enraged. But instead of simplifying her prose (like I just did), you get a descriptive picture of the metamorphosis that can ensue due to emotional pain. That is why I love Zora. She embodied the defiance of simple and plain. #blackhistorymonth

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