Abstract

In the early twentieth-century, Zora Neale Hurston made a name for herself by creating novels, short stories, dramas, and essays that were both critically successful and at the same time true to the dialect and culture of the Southern folk community in which Hurston grew up. In works like Their Eyes Were Watching God, Color Struck, "Spunk," and "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Hurston explores the rhetorical boundaries of race, examining what is stake for subjects who, like Hurston herself, must prove themselves adept at communicating with mainstream audiences without losing the distinctions of their "home cultures." This essay explores Hurston's authorial positioning, ultimately recommending Hurston as a model for study in a composition curriculum, where, by reading Hurston in the context of rhetorical inquiry, students may profitably meet the goals of a "discourse analysis" composition theory and develop better strategies for evaluating and working with the value systems of a diversified society.

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