Hi, my name is Haille Saal and this is my midterm voicethread on Parable of the Sower, The Confessions of Nat Turner, Langston Hughes, and Zora Hurston.
Regarding the first question asked, both the works I chose contain elements of open rebellion against the established power structure.
In Parable of the Sower, Lauren, the narrator and main character, demonstrates actions that openly rebel against the norm in her society. First off, she is aware and unaccepting of the Christian God that her father believes and pushes on her at an early age since he is a Baptist Minister. Instead, we see later in the novel that she creates her own religion called earthseed, which revolves around taking initiative for yourself and not waiting on a God to get things done for you. Earthseed represents God as change and in the society she grew up in, change is non existent. Lauren represents a rebellion against the established power because she takes it upon herself to do something about the lifestyle she was born into. Lauren demonstrates another aspect of rebellion in the novel by leading a group of misconstrued people out of Robledo who were in favor of leaving it behind as well. She acts as the group’s leader and at only 15, she is very mature for her age. With this responsibility and power, she was able to stand up to the government leading her society into the ground. Lauren realizes that her own community was collapsing, so she wanted to build a new one for herself and the people she was leading. By the end of the novel, it shows that her rebellion has paid off when they are all safe and she blossoms into a mature women and through the course of the book, learns and understands the value of community and compassion as we see in when she accepts a women and child into the group and offers them any food she and her group can spare. These examples epitomize the fact that she chose to rebel against her established power structure and take a risk by going her own way and taking the initiative to get things done by herself rather than waiting on someone or something to guide her.
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In The Confessions of Nat Turner, we see the same themes and types of examples as we saw in Parable of the Sower, however, it could be argued that Nat Turner’s upbringing was quite a bit harsher than Lauren’s, not to downplay her rough childhood, nevertheless. Nat Turner started out as a house slave, which was considered the more privileged of the two: field slaves and house slaves. He never fully understood what it meant to be a slave to a white family until he was sold to another man and became a field slave. He was betrayed by the family he thought he was apart of, which stemmed a rage inside him, ultimately leading to his idea to start a slave uprising and rebel against all white slave owners. Nat declared himself a Reverend, which made him a leader figure to the slaves, especially since he was one of the only literate blacks, as most were purposefully ignorant and illiterate thanks to their white masters. Nat successfully leads his uprising of 75 slaves and kills 55 white slave owners, which clearly represents his revolt against the established power structure and how he refused to accept the reality of being a slave at the time. In turn, the whites fired back and killed over a hundred black people in retaliation and eventually Nat was hung, however, his uprising was one of the largest in history and he will forever be remembered for his courage and tenacity to stand up to the established white power.
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Two of my favorite authors we have discussed in class have to do with jazz poetry and the lifestyle of being an African American at the time. Langston Hughes and Zora Hurston are both
intriguing to me because I enjoy reading poems and I like the Harlem renaissance period as well as learning more about the culture itself. Both authors demonstrate meaningful and sorrowful symbolism in their works that exemplified their career as a whole. Langston Hughes’ Trumpet Player was one of my favorite poems of his that we read in class. Not only do I think the poem does a good job at representing his style as a whole, his work outlines the lifestyles of black people at the time and the important role music played. In Trumpet Player, music acts as a remedy for his troubles and how he finds solace in it. The poem also touches on the racial memory of the African American slave experience and slave ships of the Middle Passage. It talks about whips against thighs which represents southern plantations on the streets of the urban north. I believe Hughes used his platform as a popular jazz poet to seek change and difference in the world. Through Hughes’ journey as a poet, novelist, social activist, and cultivator of jazz poetry, he was able to advocate and subtly represent black culture and the need for the abolition of segregation and slavery as a whole in his works, which is the main reason I enjoy Hughes and chose him for this part of the midterm. We also discuss several other topics like uga grade scale
Zora Hurston’s how it feels to be colored me, as we read in class, exemplifies her journey to finding her identity and reiterating her selfpride. Zora didn’t necessarily understand what it meant to be colored until she attended a boarding school soon after her mother passed away. A quote to describe her feeling towards being colored suggests she is “too busy sharpening her oyster knife” to stop to think about the pain that discrimination causes. She often states that she is stronger because of the hardships that she had to endure due to her skin color. My favorite part about the book was her metaphor which basically meant every person carries the same things inside them, no matter what color their metaphorical bag is on the outside. Like Hughes, she found solace when she listened to jazz music, which was also a major theme of the Harlem renaissance which I also really appreciate as I said before. I particularly admire Zora Hurston because she didn’t take the time to feel sorry for herself, she instead worked to better herself and become successful, learning from the obstacles she had to overcome. Her nonchalant personality towards being black gave her an advantage in my opinion. She was able to shut out any negative comments that she didn’t want to hear because she was aware of the downsides to being colored, but she was also aware of the upsides. All these reasons are predominantly why I chose her as one of my favorite authors from this class. Don't forget about the age old question of How is a theory different from a hypothesis?
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All four of these works and authors have impacted the world in one way or another and have left me feeling the way the authors intended their readers to feel by the end. All four have a similar theme regarding freedom and pride, although they are in entirely different ways.
This is the end of my midterm voicethread, thank you.