“De Talkin Game”: The Creation of Psychic Space in Selected Short Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston

Doris Davis, Texas A&M University, Texarkana
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall 2007), 269-286

This essay explores the feminine potential of African American oral traditions in the short fiction of Zora Neale Hurston. Best known for her seminal novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Hurston was a prodigious writer who experimented in multiple genres. Here, the power of female characters to deploy eloquence, consequently creating a link between themselves and characters from traditional African mythology, is explored in Hurston’s lesser known short fiction. Read against the black female victims from other Harlem Renaissance writers such as Richard Wright and Jean Toomer, this essay seeks to demonstrate the ways in which powerful women armed with oral traditions can often embody Henry Louis Gates’s trope of the Signifying Monkey more powerfully than their male counterparts.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]