Their Eyes Were Watching God Rhetorical Analysis

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Zora Neale Hurston utilizes three narrative strategies, including authentic dialect and free indirect discourse, to communicate the themes and larger messages of the novel in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston uses authentic dialect to give each character a voice and bring them to life, which is essential to the reader’s understanding of the novel. Specifically, this narrative mode is crucial to moments when Janie finds the confidence to voice her thoughts and opinions. However, this dialect only hints towards the novel’s themes, failing to convey the overall message of the book. In comparison, Hurston is able to reveal Janie’s deeper thoughts and corresponding revelations through free indirect discourse as well as convey the larger messages …show more content…

Janie not only defends her own body but she uses her voice to publicly insult Joe’s manhood as well. This humiliates him in front of his friends and causes him to lose respect from others, demonstrating the power and significance of her voice through the use of authentic dialect writing. Hurston also uses this line to signify Janie’s growth in self-assurance, as she speaks up despite the fact that she is perceived as inferior because women were discouraged from speaking up due to societal norms. Later in her relationship with Joe, she uses her voice to speak out against him again, this time shaming his emotionally abusive actions. Janie visits him on his deathbed and refuses to leave until she has spoken her mind. She tells Joe, “But I ain’t goin’ outa here and I ain’t gonintuh hush. Naw, you gonintuh listen tuh me one time befo’ you die… you wasn’t satisfied wid me de way Ah was. Naw! Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowded out tuh make room for yours in me” (86). Similarly, this line reveals an important moment for Janie’s growth in confidence. Hurston uses authentic dialect to convey Janie’s growth in finding her voice as she not only stands up to Joe, but she also refuses to stop speaking, further illustrating her newfound authority from her voice. The societal norm for women to have their voices suppressed and threatened by their husbands further proves and validates the newly found confidence that Janie’s use of her voice required. Janie’s vocal development as conveyed through authentic dialect is significant in that it demonstrates her finding of confidence and realization of the power of her voice, but it falls short of expressing the Hurston’s larger message, making it the least important mode of narration. However, Hurston’s use of authentic dialect to display the development of Janie’s

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