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Crossing the CreekThe Literary Friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings$
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Anna Lillios

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813038094

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813038094.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

“Friendship is a mysterious and ocean-bottom thing”

“Friendship is a mysterious and ocean-bottom thing”

The Hurston-Rawlings Friendship

(p.14) 1 “Friendship is a mysterious and ocean-bottom thing”
Crossing the Creek

Anna Lillios

University Press of Florida

This chapter focuses on all known encounters and communication between Hurston and Rawlings from when they met in 1942 until the latter's death in 1953. It deals with the ambiguity of when and where the two authors met and the true nature of their friendship. Details from other people's accounts of the friendship raise troubling issues. For example, Rawlings' servant at the time, Idella Parker, claims that Rawlings denigrated Hurston by asking her, on an overnight visit, to sleep in the black-only tenant quarters rather than in her farmhouse. Even Hurston's own words in a letter are open to interpretation regarding whether or not she offered to serve as Rawlings' servant when Parker was absent. These incidents raise troubling questions about race and friendship, which the chapter addresses. Nevertheless, Hurston and Rawlings both valued friendship and believed in it as an ideal. Despite the racial, economic, and social barriers between them, they maintained a cordial and supportive friendship throughout their lives.

Keywords:   Literary friendship, race, Hurston, Rawlings, Parker

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