Hurston Discussion

Re-Read the following passage from the end of the piece by Zora Neale Hurston and then answer the questions in your discussion post.

“But in the main, I feel like a brown bag of miscellany propped against a
wall. Against a wall in company with other bags, white, red and yellow.
Pour out the contents, and there is discovered a jumble of small, things
priceless and worthless. A first-water diamond, an empty spool, bits of
broken glass, lengths of string, a key to a door long since crumbled away, a
rusty knife-blade, old shoes saved for a road that never was and never will
be, a nail bent under the weight of things too heavy for any nail, a dried
flower or two still a little fragrant. In your hand is the brown bag. On the
ground before you is the jumble it held–so much like the jumble in the
bags, could they be emptied, that all might be dumped in a single heap and
the bags refilled without altering the content of any greatly. A bit of
colored glass more or less would not matter. Perhaps that is how the Great
Stuffer of Bags filled them in the first place–who knows.”

–Examine the metaphor that Hurston uses — what does the “brown bag” represent?

–What does the list of contents represent? Pick out at least two or three specific things she lists as contents and explain what they could symbolize.

–Why does Hurston say that if all the bags were emptied together and refilled randomly, it wouldn’t really alter the contents greatly?

–Who is the “Great Stuffer of Bags” and how does Hurston feel about him/her?

Sample Solution