Study Guide

Zora Neale Hurston Harlem

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Hurston arrived in Harlem when she was 35 years old (but claiming to be 26), with "no job, no friends and a lot of hope." The essay outlined Hurston's creed that she would never conform to expectations of blackness, as laid out by either blacks or whites. She enjoyed being herself too much to compromise her uniqueness for anybody.
This period also saw the end of Hurston's friendship with Langston Hughes, a schism that was one of the greatest disappointments of Hurston's life. In 1930 the two collaborated on a play entitled Mule Bone, a work about racial identity. The pair argued over who would get credit for writing the play, and as a result of the feud their friendship dissolved and the play was never produced. Despite that disappointment, Hurston continued to work in the theater. Her own musical, The Great Day, premiered on Broadway in 1932.

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