Their Eyes Were Watching God Commentary

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Zora Neale Hurston 's Their Eyes Were Watching God is a remarkable novel that examines the life of the protagonist, Janie Crawford, as she struggles to find love that fulfills her. The novel is set in post slavery Florida, where African American men and women are acclimating to freedom and making their place in society. Janie Crawford is aware as she was raised by her grandmother, who was a former slave, in the absence of her mother and father. Janie 's grandmother tries her best to raise Janie to be intelligent, selective, and confident so that she can live a comfortable life that isn 't marred by hardship as her mother and grandmother lives were. When Janie is sixteen, her grandmother requests that she get married. Janie is reluctant, but…show more content…
An interesting thing to note is that Hurston uses the same dialect and presentation of speech for all of the characters in Eatonville. By doing so, she erases the idea of a class system in Eatonville. Despite this, the people of Eatonville devise their own divisions and impose a class system. For example, women with long hair are more sought after than women with short hair and men who don 't own property are less suited to be a husband compared to men who do own property. This class system is largely based on the person 's qualities and actions rather than the amount of money he or she has. In this way, the people of Eatonville create their own metaphoric class system…show more content…
Janie and Tea Cake move to the Everglades for a fresh start where Tea Cake finds work in the bean fields. In the Everglades, there is a shift in the role of women. Women and men work alongside each other. This is so normal to the point where the other women passed judgement on Janie before are started working. Women and men appear to have equal function: to provide and support their families. This differs that what was seen in Eatonville where women worked other women and performed mainly house chores. Janie welcomes that Tea Cake respects her enough to work alongside him and this opens the door for him teaching her other things, such as shooting a gun. Most people in the Everglades enjoy Janie and Tea Cakes presence, with the exception of one woman named Mrs. Turner. She is the fair skinned woman who owns a restaurant on the muck with her husband. Mrs. Turner is nothing like the other women that have been introduced in the novel. She is outspoken, overbearing, and disrespectful. Her husband cannot control her and she often overpowers him. Mrs. Turner represents a women who doesn 't follow the traditional gender role of a submissive, obedient wife. However, the way in which she acts doesn 't manifest in Janie because Mrs. Turner 's actions are motivated by hate for African Americans and in some ways herself. Mrs. Turner attempts to set up her brother with Janie. This has consequences for Janie when Tea Cake slaps her to assert his
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