Their Eyes Were Watching God Summary

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Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, begins by showing what is occurring in the present of the main character’s life. Janie, the main character of this story, is returning to Eatonville, Florida the town she once called home. Upon her return the townspeople gossip about her and make speculations about where she has been. They also wonder what happened to Tea Cake, the young man with whom she ran off. Of all the townspeople, only one person stood up for Janie and did not give in to the gossip. That person was Phoeby she was Janie’s old friend. To figure out what happened to Janie, she goes to visit her and their conversation spurs the story beyond that point. Through an extended flashback Janie tells her everything, starting from…show more content…
During this time the Harlem Renaissance came into fruition and the Depression was starting to become present within the U.S. The Harlem Renaissance was a movement that rejected the idea of uplifting the African-American race. The people that were part of this movement wanted to clear the “positive” representations of African-Americans that were widely used by many black writers at the time. To get rid of the positive image of blacks, the Harlem Renaissance writers wanted to show the true racial oppression that was going on in our country’s society. Zora Neale Hurston was a writer who was part of this movement. She contributed by writing Their Eyes were Watching God which had a great deal of language related to southern African-American speech. According to one scholar, this story was, “not as striking as the strong southern black speech she used in her stories Jonah’s Gourd Vine or Mules and Men” (Hibben 73), it still went fully against the racial uplift concept and angered many blacks. Examples of this “folklore” speech she used were, “He was a man wid salt in him. He could give a flavor to anything” and “..I wanted things sweet with mah marriage, lak when you sit under a pear tree and think” (Hibben 73). The black community referred to this novel as a “sell-out”, this is slang for someone who betrays their own race. The blacks who did not support this movement felt that it…show more content…
You have to get past many obstacles that get in the way of you achieving your goals. Throughout this story Janie had to face a good deal of hardships on her quest to finding her true identity. She went through three different marriages seeking the love and independence she always wanted. In the end she did acquire the independence and intimacy she saw in the relationship between the bee and the pear tree flower. She did find her voice and place in society. She did shy away from the stereotypical role of what woman should be at that time period. Yet, by the end of the story Janie was still alone like she was at the beginning. The only difference was that she wasn’t the unsure young girl she had been then. This was a brand new Janie. This Janie had evolved into a stronger, more independent woman. She had a strong sense of individuality and was proud. So, although she was alone at this point she was at least content with herself and with how everything ended. She was content with the fact that she had completely finished her lifelong
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