Their Eyes Were Watching God Literary Devices

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It is often said that literature gives a voice to the oppressed. Zora Neale Hurston proves this point in her contemporary African American novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In this novel, Hurston illustrates the insensitive treatment of African American women during the early twentieth century through the life and actions of Janie, the protagonist. Hurston uses literary elements such as theme, point of view, and setting to show us how African American women are represented in the text, as well as why they are represented this way. In addition to these elements, Hurston uses devices such as symbolism and contrast to show how African American women are treated by other social groups at this time and how they compare to them. In using these techniques she has informed and empowered African American women, as well as providing them with a message of …show more content…

In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston portrays black women as powerless, oppressed, weak, and as objects of desire, rather than as equal human beings. Hurston represents African American women this way in order to show the struggles of this social group as a whole, and how they are set back by gender and race in a time where society is patriarchal and consists of major racial tension. Hurston’s point of view as it relates to the text is extremely important given her historical background, as she has experienced life as an African American woman during this time, and has experienced many of the struggles portrayed in the main character’s life. Through the protagonist, Janie’s actions and quest for love throughout the novel, Hurston shows how women are manipulated, taken advantage of, abused, oppressed,

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