Zora Neale Hurston

In the excerpt taken from the descriptive autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Zora Neale Hurston enriches our sense of her childhood through colloquial diction and her stylistic way of manipulating point of view. Through the use of first-person point of view Hurston utilizes shifts in the different perspectives of those around her, often conveying the ideals of society; “A dollar for a Cape jasmine bloom! Folks up north there must be crazy.”
    Several times throughout the passage Hurston manipulates point of view to express different voices. For example, there is the voice of society which believes that folks up north because they pay a dollar for a Cape jasmine bloom! There is the voice of Hurston’s mother, an important influence in the passage, who wants her children jump at the sun and never be like those no-count Negroes and poor-white trash. Through her mother Hurston receives her vivacious spirit and attitude, which eventually lead her to conclude that all good traits and learning's come from the mother side.
    In addition to the mother’s voice, the father’s view contributes to Hurston’s style.
In the passage his voice is portrayed in an atmosphere of negativity and foreboding. He predicted dire things for me...I was going to be hung before I got grown. Somebody was going to blow me down for my sassy tongue...Posses with ropes and guns were going to drag me out sooner or later. These negative predictions along with other positive ones convey Hurston’s attitude as she portrays her childhood.
    Another way which Hurston enriches the view of her childhood is through colloquial diction. Using the typical southern Negro slang and dialect Hurston portrays a society easy-going and laid-back. Words such as mealy-mouthed, and hide and whoop, further empathize the normal colloquial slang used. Hurston vividly portrays scenes from her childhood where she and her siblings interact with each other, sometimes using fruit as hand grenades on the neighbors’...