Discussing “Uncle Monday”

From “The Complete Stories” collection.

Who knew that Zora Neale Hurston was a horror writer? I know, you are saying, what is Curtis talking about. Well, I am talking about the short story “Uncle Monday” by Zora Neale Hurston. This short story from 1934 is a very haunting story. It tells the story of how Uncle Monday, a Hoodoo man like no other, who came to the town of Eatonville. Hurston tells a captivating story about the way Uncle Monday changed the lives of the people in Eatonville.

I really enjoyed the sub-plot of his battle with Ant Judy who was the reigning Hoodoo woman for the community. It catches you off guard. We also learn about how Uncle Monday addressed the needs of the people who came to him for help when there was nowhere else to turn.

The big thing that struck me is the world Hurston builds with her description of Uncle Monday’s entrance to the community and the strange paranormal events that surround him. From the way he walks to the close relationship between Uncle Monday and the giant gators that live in Lake Belle, you will see, smell, and fell every moment of this story. You will feel a gentle fear that will keep you turning the pages.

You feel the respect for the power of Uncle Monday that borders on fear. Her description of the supernatural events that some members of the community witness will give you a thrill and a chill. The way that the people of the community accept the fact that this supernatural world exists is told in such a way that it is very believable.

You can see the effects of Hurston’s anthropological journeys. She tells these tales of Hoodoo with respect for the people who believe and live it.

This story offers so much and is one of my favorite short stories so far. I know I say this over and over again but this journey through Hurston’s short stories has fostered a new love and respect for her writing skills. Her ability to tell a rich deep story in a concise way is superior. Please, please read this story. You can find it in “The Complete Stories” collection.

More discussions of Hurston's short stories.