Teen Blogging Zone: Discussion 4
Critics and Hurston
While Wright claimed that Hurston pandered to whites, Alain Locke said she oversimplified Southern black experience under the segregationist system known as Jim Crow. In January 1938, Locke’s infamous review publicly asked Hurston when she would begin to write “social document fiction.” This response so wounded her that she later regretted writing the novel at all. But critics who felt that Hurston’s fiction undermined their attempts to combat racism misunderstood her aesthetic. As she once wrote in a letter, “I tried...not to pander to the folks who expect a clown and a villain in every Negro. Neither did I want to pander to those ‘race’ people among us who see nothing but perfection in all of us.” Holding to this vision would cost her, financially and otherwise, right up until her death in 1960. What are your thoughts about Hurston’s statement and Locke’s comment?