Posted in Short Stories

Zora Neale Hurston: John Redding Goes to Sea

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 9

But these twigs, which John called ships, did not always sail away. Sometimes they would be swept in among the weeds growing in the shallow water, and be held there. One day his father came upon him scolding the weeds for stopping his sea-going vessels.

“John Redding Goes to Sea” is another great story by Zora Neale Hurston. It’s written in a fable-type format where John, as a boy, has dreams and desires to sail off into the horizon that he can sea from his Florida coast home. As with many dreams and desires, they don’t go away as John gets older.

In many stories with this type of theme, the father is the one that tries to squash the dreams for what he considers good reasons. In the case of this story, though, John’s father has the sympathy for his son that John’s mother and later John’s wife can’t seem to muster.

How John is torn between the women in his life and what he truly wants to do comes off as an extremely palpable conflict. It’s John’s father who gives him his bittersweet farewell.

I’m looking forward more and more to each new Zora story that pops up from my Deal Me In 2021 list. This is included in her collection Hitting a Straight Lick With a Crooked Stick. I read it when I selected the Seven of Hearts for Week 9. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

2 thoughts on “Zora Neale Hurston: John Redding Goes to Sea

    1. I’ve read her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and then two of her short stories (including this one) – all are very good!

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