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Zora Neale Hurston Quotes

Zora Neale Hurston (1903-1960)


Zora Neale Hurston was a folklorist and writer. She was part of the Harlem Renaissance, but she never quite fit into the "black writer" stereotype and was "too black" for white audiences, so her work fell into obscurity.

Alice Walker led a revival of Zora Neale Hurston popularity beginning in the 1970s, and Zora Neale Hurston is now considered among the classic American writers of the 20th century.

Selected Zora Neale Hurston Quotations

• I want a busy life, a just mind, and a timely death.

• Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to "jump at de sun." We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.

• No man may make another free.

• Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.

• Learning without wisdom is a load of books on a donkey's back.

• No matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you.

• If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.

• It is hard to apply oneself to study when there is no money to pay for food and lodging. I almost never explain these things when folks are asking me why I don't do this or that.

• Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me.

• There is nothing to make you like other human beings so much as doing things for them.

• It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it.

• Happiness is nothing but everyday living seen through a veil.

• Life is the flower for which love is the honey.

• Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much.

• Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.

• There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

• When one is too old for love, one finds great comfort in good dinners.

• Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing, until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. They then act and do things accordingly.

• Those that don't got it, can't show it. Those that got it, can't hide it.

• I belong to no race nor time. I am the eternal feminine with its string of beads.

• I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all.

• Someone is always at my elbow reminding me that I am the granddaughter of slaves. It fails to register depression with me.

• I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.

• The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.

• Research is formalized curiousity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein.

• Once you wake up thought in a man, you can never put it to sleep again.

• My eyes and my mind keep taking me where my old legs can't keep up.

• There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet.

• I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.

Related Resources for Zora Neale Hurston

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Zora Neale Hurston Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/zn_hurston.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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