Identity In Hurston's Post-Reconstruction, Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Wallace Thurman poses the question “What did the color of one’s skin have to do with mentality or native ability” (Thurman 50). For a woman in America, quite a lot! While some have the luxury of living in “one nation, with liberty and justice for all”. For African American women, justice is hard to come by, and liberty is nothing more than a term without any true purpose or meaning. It is true, “to be black is no disgrace, just often very inconvenient”, but to be both African American and female, is nearly unbearable (Johnson,. This is an incontrovertible truth that African American woman can attest to. Facing injustices due to their racial identity, which promotes a feeling of isolation so distanced from society it is like being on the “outside…show more content…
Lucie County Welfare Home. Once famous, the writer and folklorist died poor and alone on January 28, 1960, buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida. It is in Hurston’s novel, written post-Reconstruction, Their Eyes Were Watching God, where readers are able to trace the progressing relationship, she and other, African American women share with God. Religion acts as a major theme in Hurston’s work, but continues Wilson’s tradition of separating God from standardized Anglo-American racially charged Protestant Christianity. Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie Crawford relies on her faith in God to guide and protect her; however, unlike Frado, Janie never seeks God’s presence in a church but identifies him in nature. The Sun, animals, the Hurricane, the horizon, the Pear Tree, the bee and flower are all evidence of God’s existence, to Janie. Though the primary goal of many of Hurston’s characters is to achieve racial assimilation, Janie believes that “the time has past for asking the white folks” what to do (Hurston 159). Janie’s preoccupation with nature throughout seems to suggest that assimilation is an antiquated ideology, and watching the ways and actions of European Americans can only lead to the demise of African Americans; one must focus on the specific needs of her people in order to progress. Hurston implies that instead of watching Anglo-Americans, African Americans should focus on watching
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