In the novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster discusses the importance of Geography in literature, particularly the idea that “ when writers send characters south, it’s so they could run amok” (Foster 179). This idea emerges in Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as Janie travels to discover her identity. Janie feels tied down by the people in her life, particularly her husband Joe in Eatonville. She comments that he “wanted me tuh sit wid folded hands and sit dere. And Ah’d sit dere wid de walls creepin’ up on me and squeezin’ all de life out of me” (Hurston 112). Joe would treat her as a decoration on the wall, not a human being, leaving Janie feeling trapped and unknowing of who she is. According to Foster,
Hurston and Janie both endured oppression during their lives based upon their race and gender however, their strong wills propelled them threw unforeseen obstacle. Zora Neale Hurston was a phenomenal African American woman whom despite her rough childhood would become one of the most profound authors of the century. Throughout her lifetime she was the, “Recipient of two Guggenheims and the author of four novels, a dozen short stories, two musicals, two books on black mythology, dozens of essays, and a prizewinning autobiography” (Gates 4). Hurston had to overcome numerous obstacles because of her gender, economic status, and racial identity. Hurston was born in 1891 in Notasulga, Alabama but grew up in Eatonville, Florida. Her mother died when she was thirteen-years-old, and as a result, her father sent her to boarding school shortly after. Overcoming many odds, Hurston graduated from Barnard college in 1927 with her
“Hurston became the most successful and most significant black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century. Over a career that spanned more than 30 years, she published four novels, two books of folklore, an autobiography, numerous short stories, and several essays, articles and plays” ("Zora Neale Hurston." The Official Website of Zora Neale Hurston). One of the most famous and a accomplishment was a novel that she had written called, Their Eyes Were Watching God, which received great praise. “In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the novel is a brilliant study of black folk and their language, their stories, and their mannerisms. All of this works symbolically as a measure of the characters ' integrity and freedom, which in turn demonstrates a contrast to the image of the carefree, ‘happy darky’ that prevailed in the fiction of many American novelists” ("Zora Neale Hurston." Notable Black American Women). In the novel, Hurston explores the gender roles of African American women during this time period. It follow the story of a young lady named Janie, who was struggling to fit in the world. She a very beautiful lady who had gone through three marriages by the time she reached the age of fifty. With this novel, Hurston got people talking about the
In Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Zora Neale Hurston quotes: “She knew now that
Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, forces Janie to marry a man she is not in love with out of convenience. Nanny does not want Janie to suffer the necessities of life, but Janie cares little about materials and seeks love. Nanny’s ideology haunts Janie for much of her life, influencing decisions she takes later in marriage. Huston says, “The memory of Nanny was still powerful and strong,” which shows how Janie conforms to the ideology her grandmother instilled in her. And although Janie conforms, she continues to question inwardly about love. Nanny did not believe in love, so Janie had little guidance in how one can find love. Janie does not realize until the end, that one must “go there tuh know there”(192).
when she addresses that Janie Starks, the protagonist, never got to fulfill her dreams. Janie’s
Some may say that although some may women may relate, none are the same. They all have qualities and morals that differ them from the rest. Some may be victims to domestic abuse, yet others would never let their spouse think of raising their hands to them. Some are more feminine while others feel less comfortable behaving girly. Some are free-spirited, while others abide by all the rules society places on females. Edna from Chopin’s The Awakening and Janie from Hurston’s Theirs Eyes Were Watching God differ greatly from each other. Edna is a more free- spirited woman who does not conform to anyone’s rules, while Janie who although has instances of rebellion, she does what she is told. Janie unlike Edna married Logan Killicks
In the 1800’s, the societal niche of married women was clearly defined: they were meant to devote every aspect of their lives to their husbands and children. Edna Pontellier, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, struggles to adhere to these standards, and eventually rebels against them. The harsh standards placed on Edna and other women in the novel are like the cages around the metaphorical birds Chopin uses to represent them. Edna's unhappiness in her societal role is realized in the ocean, which symbolizes this awakening and her attempt to escape the gender roles of the nineteenth century. The images of birds and the ocean are used to show the harsh standards placed on Edna and other women in the nineteenth century.
Although she is the protagonist, the supplementary characters in Their Eyes Were Watching God have a different definition of what portrays as desire. Desire for them, relates to a feeling of want that can be accomplished through someone else, and also as a feeling that effects other character’s feelings. The antagonists demonstrate desire as a feeling or wanting to control someone else’s desires of wanting, like Janie. The importance of Janie going along with these peer-developed desires is that through completing them, she finds her own self-fulfillment and self-discovery. Gorman Beauchamp discusses in Zora Neale Hurston’s Other Eatonville, the connections that Hurston made between her own life and Janie’s life within Their Eyes Were Watching God. He reflects mostly on Jody’s character and states “[Jody] and his creation compose the force that stunts Janie’s growth and stifles her desires: he embodies in his considerable girth the oppressive patriarchy of feminist theory” (Beauchamp 85). This not only indicates Jody’s effect on Janie’s life, but it is also similar to the other character’s motives to Janie. These developed desires directed to Janie are seen to properly align her into where the other characters feel she should
Zora Hurston uses vivid imagery, natural diction, and several literary tools in her essay “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”. Hurston’s use of imagery, diction, and literary tools in “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” contributes to, and also compliments, the essay’s theme which is her view on life as a “colored” person. Throughout “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” Hurston carefully incorporates aspects of her African American culture in an effort to recapture her ancestral past. Hurston’s use of imagery, diction, and use of literary tools shape her essay into a piece of Harlem Renaissance work.
Hurston’s usage of natural objects in the world, such as a pear tree, horizon, and hurricane, correlate with one another allowing the reader analyze the three different marriages that take place in various events Janie goes through in her life. From viewing the act of sex through pollination, a destination holding dreams, and o the eyes of death staring back at her, these symbols showcase a coming of age story.
The pursuit of dreams has played a big role in self-fulfillment and internal development and in many ways, an individual 's reactions to the perceived and real obstacles blocking the path to a dream define the very character of that person. This theme is evident in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is about the search for identity. A woman of a mixed ethnicity resides in several communities, each playing an important role and serve as crucial influences on her life. During the story, she endures two failed relationships and one good relationship, dealing with disappointment, death, the wrath of nature and life’s unpredictability.
On a bright Sunday morning, accompanied by her mother and grandmother, a young girl lounges in the pew of a church when a missal catches her eye, and she begins to flip through the pages revealing the compilation of the religious texts. As this young girl grows older and presumably pursues a higher education, she will begin studying texts of the same complexity of those contained in the missal, which will challenge traditional beliefs and contrast religious literature with literature that happens to contain religious themes. When analyzing these pieces of work, the girl will propose many questions that readers prior may have considered at an earlier time. In American literature, specifically through the examples of "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman and Lorraine Hansberry 's A Raisin the Sun, religion, once thought of as a unification of all people, paradoxically acts as a source of the development of an identity, rebellion from a community, and a factor of discrimination.