The Novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston follows the life of a Biracial woman named Janie as she struggles to find love and happiness in her confusing life. The novel begins showing Janie as a young girl. Hurston explains Janie 's family history by recounting how her black mother was raped by a white school teacher, leading to her biracial nature. The story instills in the reader a reason to be against white men. The novel is centered around the main motif of hair and most specifically Janie 's hair.
In other words, language represents both freedom and imprisonment, hope and fear, love and hate. As a result, the ability to control language is a step towards the journey of individualism. The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is written after the pinnacle of the Harlem Renaissance, a period of expanding African culture through literature, music, and art instilled a new sense of social and artistic freedom. However, the Depression during the 1930s ended the cultural tolerance that allowed the Harlem Renaissance to flourish, shifting cultural production into “social realism.” Thus, the rise of the movement perceived art should unmask the social injustice within the world. In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s possession of an “outward existence which conforms, the inward life that questions” illustrates how breaking society’s gender roles and finding control over one’s voice are crucial sources in developing one’s identity and empowerment.
Diana Hayes articulates what it means to be a Black Christian in America. Black liberation theology asks “whose side should God be on—the side of the oppressed (Black people) or the side of the oppressors (White) (Hayes. 83).” The Black historical experience and takes us from the roots of Black theology in Africa, through the revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the civil rights and Black Power movements, to the beginnings of a systematic theology of liberation. The problem here is, If God values justice over victimization, then God desires that all oppressed people should be
Literally it was a barrier where African Americans felt they could never truly be comfortable and express themselves. Additionally, white Americans also had a veil where they found difficulty in seeing blacks as whole Americans. They believed themselves to be superior in all facets of society such as predominance in belief systems and history. They viewed other races as inferior and dehumanised them. (Bois, 2005 ) Whites had a sense of privilege because of the injustices they created such as colonialism and the exploitation of other races for their own power (Bois, 2005
In the novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston brings to light many themes such as gender roles and women’s rights. When the novel was published in September of 1937, it was not welcomed by society which was mainly due to the fact that most citizens of the United States were still very conservative and racist with their social views. With a country such as this, a literary work that rebels against society's ideals of segregation and minimal woman's rights was disrespected after its release. Like the quote above, many excerpts in the novel portray this theme of women’s rights through the use of various literary devices, such as analogies and symbolism. Zora Neale Hurston’s use of analogies in the way she describes both the male and female views on life is beautiful.
Zora Neale Hurston took part in the empowering movement of the Harlem Renaissance, or the “New Negro Movement” (Locke, 1925), a time characterized by a flourishing African American culture. She is best known for her 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, which primarily focuses on Janie Crawford, a young woman in search of love, of herself, and her place as a black woman in the South. Hurston’s work remained relatively obscure, until Alice Walker heralded it and elevated it to the ranks of an American classic. Her work though has also the subject of harsh critiques, notably by Richard Wright, who claimed it was not political enough. In fact, it could be argued that Janie remains passive throughout most of the novel, trapped in abusive relationships,
Throughout the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, author Zora Neale Hurston exploits and recognizes the certain standards that are set for women. Compared to their counterparts, women are perceived as a group that does not deserve the same daily rights as men. They are seen as “less than,” and are expected to get married and care for their spouse, prepare the dinner every evening, and make sure the house is neat and tidy. The protagonist, Janie Mae Crawford, faces this problem first hand with each of her three husbands. Without an easy fix to these problems, Janie views the horizon as her escape outlet and as a symbol of oppression.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a powerful novel in which we follow the life events of the central character, Janie Crawford. While the novel revolves around the men that shape and distort her life, the principal element is the quest in which Janie undergoes in search of self fulfilment and her own identity. While many of her relationships do not flourish, they teach her many valuable lessons and allow her to progress in her search for spiritual enlightenment. Race and gender prove to be some of the most crucial themes in the novel as they exert prominent influence on the series of events that unfold throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God. In this essay, I will examine race and gender as well as examining the relationship between the two and how they play such a significant role in the life of Janie Crawford and her partners.
THE LIMITATIONS OF WOMEN IN THE AFRICAN SOCIERTY Chinua Achebe’s “An Image of Africa” argues that the colonial European writers created a platform where Africa is viewed as of “civilized” Europe. The colonial Europeans viewed Africa as a place that lacks humanity. In this, I am going to argue that Nervous Conditions, “The Prophetess” and “A Private Experience” reclaims African stories by revealing the true experiences of women and the challenges they face in African society. In “A Private Experience” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chika is helped by Hausa Muslim woman to hide in the old store to escape the riots. Chika is Igbo and Christian.
The novel Efuru echoed strongly the thoughts of black women and their rights. After Flora Nwapa, Alice Walker broke the confines of established American and African literary structures she approached Womanism which means Black Feminism to her literature. With her own coined literary term, womanism she disclosed through her novels how black women’s human rights have been violated by patriarchal community. Through her heroines like Celie, Tashi, and other heroines shown to the world how black women moved from victimhood to self realization and agitated against the sexual, racial and class oppression of the male dominated society of Africa and America. Keywords: Black Women, Womanism, Oppression, Male Dominated Society.