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Introduction to Their Eyes Were Watching God

Introduction to Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Tewwg pp Tewwg pp Presentation Transcript

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God Written by Zora Neale Hurston  Born 1/7/1891  Lived in Eatonville, FL (first all-black incorporated town in U.S.)  Significant writer during Harlem Renaissance Published in 1937 Third person narration; Frame story Setting: 1920s/30s; rural Florida
  • Major Characters Janie Mae Crawford: protagonist Nanny: Janie’s grandmother Pheoby Watson: Janie’s best friend
  • Major Characters Logan Killicks: Janie’s first husband (arranged marriage) Joe (Jody) Starks: Janie’s second husband Tea Cake: Janie’s third husband (true love) View slide
  • Plot Overview Janie returns to Eatonville after a long absence. (porch sitters, gossip) She shares her story with her friend, Pheoby. (frame story/flashback)  Nanny forces her beliefs/experiences on Janie.  Nanny arranges Janie’s marriage to Logan.  Unromantic, “pack mule”  Married about a year  Janie runs away with Joe Starks.  Smooth-talking, ambitious; tries to silence Janie  Married about 20 years / Joe dies  Meets Tea Cake (love of her life)  Criticized by friends, sells store, goes to Jacksonville  moves to the Everglades (hard work, social life)  Hurricane, rabid dog, shooting, trial Janie returns to Eatonville (at peace/horizon) View slide
  • Themes Language: Speech and Silence; Finding One’s Voice Fulfillment Relationships vs. Independence (Love story? Or Self-actualization?)
  • Literary and Rhetorical Devices (Creating an Author’s Distinct Style) Characterization  Local Color Conflict  Mood Dialect/Vernacular  Motif Diction  Tone Flashback  Plot Line Foreshadowing  Point of View Folk Tale/Folklore  Protagonist/Antagonist Figurative Language  Quest Irony  Setting Imagery  Symbol  Theme
  • Motifs Symbols Race and Racism  Hair/head rag Spiritual Quest: Finding one’s place in  Pear Tree the world, understanding of self,  Horizon peace with one’s environment Community;  Hurricane communal bonds Mules Gates
  • Title Discussion Significance of the title  “The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time. They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God” (Hurston 175) Relates to Janie’s quest Relates to central conflict in novel