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Seems Like Murder HereSouthern Violence and the Blues Tradition$
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Adam Gussow

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226310978

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226311005.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

“The Blade Already Crying in My Flesh”

“The Blade Already Crying in My Flesh”

Zora Neale Hurston's Blues Narratives

(p.233) Chapter Six “The Blade Already Crying in My Flesh”
Seems Like Murder Here

Adah Cussow

University of Chicago Press

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

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