Zora Neale Hurston, in his critique, Characteristic of Negro Expression, he widely discusses what can be termed to be character traits of the Negro’s. Zora says that the life of Negros is all about drama. He outlines that every aspect of their life is pure art. From their beliefs to their practices, all are adorned in art (Zora 1051). This portrays the beauty of their life and their culture, as well. Since every piece of art must incorporate an audience, there is no point in Negros having the sense of privacy. Pieces of art are produce in the courtesy of the audience; therefore, every aspect in the lives of Negros has to be public. Ralph Ellison in his article, Living with Music explains his experience with music at different stages of his life. As a child, Ralph was interested in music and used to practice regularly (Ralph 2). He used to learn music in school where he was expected to play systematic white music. On the contrary, he had interests in playing the Negros vigorous music. These two contradicted; leaving confused. He was very passionate with music; thus, used to practice blowing at any time. He could practice early in the morning before breakfast or late evening after super. Zora in Characteristics of Negro Expression discusses several traits believed to belong to the Negros. He discusses in detail, these traits. They include drama, dancing, the jook, imitation, Negro folklore, culture heroes, and absence of concept of privacy, originality, asymmetry, and angularity. Ralph, on the other side, in his article Living with Music, expounds on his history and experience with music (Ralph 6). This articles starts, at a time when music and noise disrupts Ralph from his writing. It flashes back to his childhood days in a music school. It proceeds through how he used music as a distractor to his singer neighbor. Zora looks at the culture of Negro in terms of characteristics. He compares it to that of whites. He draws real examples from both cultures and shows how both intertwine. Ralph on his side, talks about music in wide from the point of view as a noise, destructive and disturbing and also, as a good mind relaxing asset (Zora 1052).
In the characteristics of the Negros, the key concept is to appreciate culture as it may be. The article is also focused at displaying the beauty of other people’s culture despite the differences in cultures, and the differences in preferences. In living with music, the key concept is to show the beauty of music despite the odds around it. Music is an art that is so engaging to the participants and at the same time some noise to outsiders. People in the environment of the singers; have to put up with the odds of the noise, in the hope that one day these singers will prosper. Ralph makes a great documentation of the odds good times in music. He seems knowledgeable in the topic. He has been in the music field thus has a deep understanding of both sides. He creatively brings out the idea of how music is enjoyable and at the same time shows how music is destructive (Ralph 9). Zora on his side seems very creative, according to how he discusses the topic. He seems confident of his arguments thus contributes notably. He has done expansive research on the topic no his discussion (Zora 1050).
Ralph, in his critiques, dwells much in imagination. His description on the wonderful sensation given by music is pure art. He also fails in that he just addresses the lovers of music under such. In his discussion, he presents music as a supernatural art. Even the odds he gives of music are skeptical. Zora, on the other hand seems biased. His arguments concerning the Negros show that he inclines on one side (Zora 1048). One can easily conclude that he is a white. If not so, then he has a negative perception of the Negros. The two pieces seem to agree in that each show the beauty of something amidst many odds. They are very inspiring that, even though, things seem so bad; there is still something good in them. This tends to agree with the saying that every cloud has a silver lining. Zora shows the good aspects of the Negro culture and even quotes that the whites end up trying it (Zora 1045). This says that, despite the fact that the Negro’s culture is lacking in so many ways, it is still worthy. Ralph shows that, from the noise he so much hated, he came to learn a new thing. He learnt the beauty of music. From the whole incident also, he learnt humility from the neighbor who did not compete with him. The texts are useful to the readers since the have moral lessons. They teach the readers to be appreciative. This can be seen most from Zora’s article. Zora shows that it is significant to be dignified of one’s culture and at the same time appreciate other peoples (Zora 1046). The highly conspicuous lesson from Ralph’s text is humility and tolerating others. Ralph says that he later felt guilty of what he did to the singer on his ceiling as he says. He remembered that he also use to make noise to his childhood neighborhood. Also, from the reaction of Ralph’s neighbor, the readers learn to be humble. Despite the loud competitive music Ralph played, she did not compete back (Ralph 7). To his surprise, when they met, she commended him for the good music rather than jeer at him as he expected.