Dust Tracks on a Road Syllabus

Dust Tracks on a Road is Zora Neale Hurston’s candid, funny, bold, and poignant autobiography, an imaginative and exuberant account of her rise from childhood poverty in the rural South to a prominent place among the leading artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance.

As compelling as her renowned fiction such as Their Eyes Were Watching God and Jonah’s Gourd Vine, Hurston’s very personal literary self-portrait offers a revealing, often audacious glimpse into the life—public and private—of an extraordinary artist, anthropologist, chronicler, and champion of the black experience in America.

Suggested Course Use

Maya Angelou wrote in her introduction, “Zora Neale Hurston chose to write her own version of life in Dust Tracks on a Road,” and this makes it fit beautifully into courses that ask students to explore how women writers have depicted their lives in fiction and autobiography as they investigate feminist theories of women’s writing and consider how women have both adopted and rejected the traditions of typical autobiographies and fiction that were primarily developed by men. Combined with other classics such as Charlotte Perkin Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood, The Woman Warrior by Maxine Kingston, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Dust Tracks on a Road gives students access to the overarching themes, richness, and diversity of women’s writing and asks them to contemplate the challenges women face in writing their own lives.

Example Syllabi

College English I: Bethune-Cookman University
Modern American Literature: The College of New Jersey
Hurston & Wright: University of Michigan – Flint
Reading “Black Love”: University of Southern California