“The Blade Already Crying in My Flesh”

Adah Cussow

in Seems Like Murder Here

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226310978
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226311005 | DOI:
“The Blade Already Crying in My Flesh”

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter applies the theory of intimate blues violence to a fresh reading of Zora Neale Hurston and Big Sweet and Tea Cake. It also describes Their Eyes Were Watching God and Mules and Men. Hurston's journey into the symbolic South of Polk County is figured in Mules and Men as both a spatial and class descent. In her great blues novel, Hurston acted out a purgative revenge on the jook by killing off the loving but dangerous exemplar of its multiple violences. In Mules and Men, Hurston showed the dialectic of blues culture in its full glory, then flees as a jealous, possessive, and murderous blueswoman chases her out of the jook. In Their Eyes, she employed in a kind of cultural splitting: the jealous, possessive, and murderous side of the blues culture's dialectic is exaggerated and then rejected, ultimately, as the “mad dog” snarling through helpless Tea Cake.

Keywords: intimate blues violence; Zora Neale Hurston; Big Sweet; Tea Cake; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Mules and Men; blues culture

Chapter.  18467 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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