Zora Neale Hurston and Sojourner Truth had their similarities as well as differences. As depicted in their autobiographies, their personalities were also different. Hurston refused to belong to the sobbing school of Negros, who held that nature had given them a lowdown dirty deal (Hurston2). Hurston learned not to be dammed up in her sorrow and instead used her performance to forget the same. Those same sentiments were held by Truth, who believed that the unlettered blacks were not only controlled by their white masters but by the educated blacks that surrounded them. Like Truth, she sought to change her situations by acting about it.
From the very onset of life, Hurston had realized that the world is to the strongest despite the pigmentation on one skin. For that reason, like Truth, Hurston chooses to be busy sharpening her oyster knife (Hurston, 2).
Hurston and Truth’s attitudes toward spirituality, empowerment, work, gender, and race may have been similar to some aspect, but, at the same time, different. Xiomara Santamarina, in the narrative Race, Work, and Literary Authority in The Narrative of Sojourner Truth explains that looking at the life of Sojourner truth, it is clear that it revolved around ensuring that former slaves and specifically women were empowered to known the value of their work in slavery. Santamarina assert that Truth in her narrative wanted women to understand about their self-worth especially in their working life and to consequently use such to counter their professional’s endeavors (Santamarina, 37). Truth is seen fighting for the rights of the slave as an abolitionist although to some aspect she differed with the lettered blacks who held different ideologies about slavery. Like Hurston, Truth was not afraid to confront her fears and her physical strengths came from the fact that she stood and fought firmly for what she believed in. Like Truth, Hurston was not held back by the pigmentation of her skin as amidst all adversity, she was able to stand out and seek out for what she wanted in life.
Dust Tracks on a Road shows how like Truth, Hurston was able to rise up and take her place among the intellectuals in the society as she was unbothered about her skin pigmentation even though she was aware of its existence. This was unlike Truth who claim that the unlettered black and the black workers were discriminated based on race. Evidently, Truth efforts are seen where she tries to empower the blacks through her reform. She aimed at assimilating the northern workers into an industrialized order and this unfortunately was against the abolitionist ideologies. Santamarina explains that it disrupted the links of abolitions (37).Truth wanted the black workers to have freedom and liberty and this was not in agreement to the abolitionist model which instead wanted a capitalist model of social stability which according to Truth would in effect disrupt the freedom of especially the northern black workers(Santamarina,37).
Hurston like Truth looked at her challenges as different and that the notion that they were based on the grounding of race to this two was not right. Rather both Truth and Hurston believed that the problems that the Negros faced had its foundation on class. Hurston looked forward to having a good life by raising up the ladder of the social class cluster something that she achieved eventually. Hurston asserts that she believed that white people differed from colored only by the mere fact that they rode through the town and never lived there (Hurston, 2). On the other hand, through Truth presenting her ideologies at Ohio stadium in 1851, she was able to get on the spot light and earned the respect of many consequently.
Hurston unlike was the case with Truth did not dwell so much on the color of her skin. She asserts that, she did not always feel colored as she always achieved the unconscious Zora of Eatonville before the Hegira (Hurston, 2). The only time she felt colored is when she is thrusted against a sharp white background.
Another difference that is visible between Hurston and Truth is based on the aspect of spirituality. Nellie McKay in Nineteenth Century Black Women’s Spiritual Autobiographies, asserts that Truth beliefs were based on her religious faith and self-empowerment (McKay 1). This was unlike the case with Zora who believed in self-empowerment and the need to change her life and standards. Zora in her autobiography does not talk so much about her spiritual journey unlike was the case with Truth. Truth was spiritual as her beliefs in God were so deeply rooted. She ascribed to the teachings of the great preachers and wanted so much to preach to her people although the Negros rebuffed her teachings.
Paula Brush in her discourse The Influence of Social Movements brings into light about
how social movement bridge individual experience with structural explanations of experiences(Brush, 3).The discourse explain the contribution of the social movements in terms of the connection there was between agricultural labor and the rhetoric claims by the women rights convection(Santamarina, 40). The social movements asserted the need for the black workers to fight for their rightful position within the society something that Hurston likened to sharpening the oyster knife. However, Truth differed with the social movements on how this was done.
In conclusion, there is a lot of similarities as well as differences between Truth and Hurston. In one aspect they agreed on things to do with gender, race, and empowerment and in another they differed spiritual. Hurston autobiographies are more based on fiction and visions while Truth autobiographies is based on the realities or rather the experiences drawn from being a former slave and perhaps this explain why they differ in some aspects.
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