Eatonville Anthology by Zora Neale Hurston, 1926
The magic trick:
Using vignettes, rather than a unified narrative, to paint a picture of the town
Here we have a condensed version of Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Or a much, much, much smaller version of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi. It’s kind of like conceptual flash fiction before flash fiction was a thing. And it’s very good.
Hurston uses 14 vignettes about different characters around Eatonville to anthologize the town. The result isn’t necessarily a cohesive story, but the reader gets a complete picture of the town in a brief span of words. And that’s quite a trick on Hurston’s part.
Becky Moore has eleven children of assorted colors and sizes, She has never been m arried, but that is not her fault. She has never stopped any of the fathers of her children from proposing, so if she has no father for her children it’s not her fault. The men round about are entirely to blame.
The other mothers of the town are afraid that it is catching.They won’t let their children play with hers.