Discussing “The Eatonville Anthology”

Imagine sitting on a porch with Zora Neale Hurston in Eatonville and having her share the gossip on each person that passed by. That is what you get when you read The Eatonville Anthology. This short story is comprised of short pieces that describe a person or the events surrounding a person. Each of these telling's paint a picture of the person. You definitely get the small town, everyone knows everyone else business vibe.

This story was written around 1926, eleven years before Their Eyes Were Watching God was published. Reading “The Eatonville Anthology” help me understand why Hurston had such a firm grasp of the characters and setting in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston paints a rich picture of the people in Eatonville through these short glimpses into the people.

Hurston shows the joy and pain that the people of Eatonville experienced in their life. In particular, she shows the struggles women face. Hurston again uses so few words to convey so much.

Also, Hurston ends the Anthology with a good old folklore tail that explains why a dog's tongue looks like it does and why dogs are always chasing rabbits. Ending it with the best line for ending a story – Stepped on a tin, Mah Story Ends.

I encourage you to read the Eatonville Anthology, especially before you read Their Eyes Were Watching God. Its is like reading an authors notebook and getting those extra pieces that never made the book.

You can find The Eatonville Anthology in the newest collection of Hurston's short stories, “Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick”

More discussions of Hurston's short stories.