Zora Neale Hurston: The Gilded Six-Bits

This story starts with a very straightforward statement on the blackness of the community where it is set. As seen from the outside, which is from the 1930s, dominating white point of view, we are faced with an all-negro ghetto of implicit inferiority in the economical, cultural, social, and human sense. However, the word “but” comes quickly to the rescue. Despite the white opinion, happiness and well-being are possible, and reach even to white standards: a whitewashed fence and house, scrubbed-white porch and steps. Eatonville, the name of the town, was a real place well known by Hurston, as it was her hometown until she was nine. In a time of oppression and segregation, Eatonville was a “race colony”, one of the voluntarily segregated communities meant to empower its black citizens and prove the surrounding white world that blacks were capable of self-government, independence, integrity and indigenous forms of expression.
Thus, from the very beginning, we are shown the negative –from the white point of view- side of a community, entirely based on the repetition of the adjective “black”, deemed enough for this purpose, just to be immediately flouted: “But there was something happy about the place”. What it can be is undefined, but it suggests a wealth of love put there to cover up the shabbiness. Sigue leyendo

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