recovering readily from adversity, depression, or the like
At first it might seem contradictory that a work whose central character is the remarkably resolute and
resilient Janie Crawford should start with a dictum about “the life of men.”
an authoritative declaration
At first it might seem contradictory that a work whose central character is the remarkably resolute and resilient Janie Crawford should start with a
dictum about “the life of men.”
an indication of the existence of some person or thing
However, that is one of the many shrewd
manifestations of Zora Neale Hurston’s enormous talents: her ability to render a world complete with its codes and disciplines within a few sentences, and then placing in that world her vision of how her people—the women and men of her own creation, her characters—function, triumph, and survive.
deprive of by deceit
From the time she first discovers that she is a “colored” little girl by searching for her face in a group photograph, to the moment she returns to Eatonville, Florida, from the Everglades, not
swindled and deceived, as had been expected, but heartbroken, yet boldly defiant, after having toiled in the bean fields, survived a hurricane, and lost the man she loved.
So in spite of the judgmental voices that greet her upon her return, in spite of the “mass cruelty” invoked by her
prodigal status, Janie has earned the right to be the griot of her own tale, the heroine of her own quest, the “member” of her own remembering.
comfort in disappointment or misery
She somehow unearthed the
solace, or perhaps the desperation, to write.
the dispersion of something that was originally localized
And I include all the international peoples of the African
diaspora in this category.
a woman who has received a degree from a school
Hers were among the books in a glass case in the Barnard library that also highlighted other famous
alumna authors, including the poet, playwright, and novelist Ntozake Shange.
having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity
If he were too uniformly
pious, then rather than being her equal, as he was at work in the fields, he would be worshipped by her.
a pressing or urgent situation
This is a novel with an overpowering sense of
exigency and urgency in its layered plot, swift pace, intricate narration, and in the raw anguish evoked by the conflicting paths laid out for Janie Crawford.
failure to follow accepted standards of behavior
Like all individual thinkers, Janie Crawford pays the price of exclusion for
nonconformity, much like Hurston herself, who was accused of stereotyping the people she loved when she perhaps simply listened to them much more closely than others, and sought to reclaim and reclassify their voices.