1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Teens ReviewAt the height of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930s, Zora NealeHurston was the preeminent black woman writer in the United States. Shewas a sometime-collaborator with Langston Hughes and a fierce rival ofRichard Wright. Her stories appeared in major magazines, she consulte don Hollywood screenplays, and she penned four novels, anautobiography, countless essays, and two books on black mythology. Yetby the late 1950s, Hurston was living in obscurity, working as a maid in aFlorida hotel. She died in 1960 in a Welfare home, was buried in anunmarked grave, and quickly faded from literary consciousness until 1975when Alice Walker almost single-handedly revived interest in her work.Of Hurstons fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God is arguably the best-known and perhaps the most controversial. The novel follows the fortunesof Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eaton, Florida.Hurston sets up her characters and her locale in the first chapter, which,along with the last, acts as a framing device f or the story of Janies life.Unlike Wright and Ralph Ellison, Hurston does not write explicitly aboutblack people in the context of a white world--a fact that earned herscathing criticism from the social realists--but she doesnt ignore theimpact of black-white relations either: It was the time for sitting onporches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. Thesesitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long.Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and thebossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They becamelords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through theirmouths. They sat in judgment. One person the citizens of Eaton areinclined to judge is Janie Crawford, who has married three men and beentried for the murder of one of them. Janie feels no compulsion to justifyherself to the town, but she does explain herself to her friend, Phoeby,with the implicit understanding that Phoeby can tell em what Ah say if youwants to. Dats just de same as me cause mah tongue is in mah friendsmouf. Hurstons use of dialect enraged other African American writerssuch as Wright, who accused her of pandering to white readers by giving
2. them the black stereotypes they expected. Decades later, however,outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life,and especially the lives of black women. In Their Eyes Were WatchingGod Zora Neale Hurston breathes humanity into both her men andwomen, and allows them to speak in their own voices. --Alix WilberZora Neale Hurston was a trained anthropologist, and her masterpieceTheir Eyes Were Watching God is a study of mid twentieth century blackculture. However it is also so much more than that. Hurston preserved forposterity the colloquialisms and cadences of black southern culture, onegeneration removed from slavery. But she does so in a universal andthought provoking novel that explores the very building blocks of thehuman condition: love, our personal dreams and growth, and everypersons search to be true to themselves.Although the protagonist of TEWWG is a black woman named Janie in1930s Florida, she speaks to every mature reader who ha s ever investedin one minute of self reflection. Janie has persevered and grown throughtwo failed marriages, the lust of youth and sexual self awareness, thestings of gossip and envy, the fulfillment of true love (and the devastatingconsequences of its loss) and the sense of peace that comes with selfactualization and contentment with who one is as a person.Hurston does all of this with her supreme use of figurative language, andher simple gifts of storytelling. This is one of the simplest (in terms of itsstyle and construction) novels I have ever read, and yet its themes andcomplexities reveal new gifts to me on every rereading.This novel deserves the attention it receives, and it deserves yours! Pick itup, but dont forget about it once youve read it. Its riches are revealed anewas our own life experiences evolve and change. Every time I pick it up Ifind more and more of myself in its pages. What a treasure! For More 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - 5 Star Customer Reviews and Lowest Price!