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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Analysis

Literary Devices in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Janie’s second husband, Joe Starks, forces Janie to wear a head-rag when in public. Because Janie’s hair is so attractive to men, Joe jealously makes his wife bind her hair, constrainin...

Setting

The slave culture of the southern U.S., though dead by the time of Janie’s life, has a profound effect on the book, grounding all discussion of racism and emerging most strongly in the charac...

Narrator Point of View

In the first chapter, it’s clear that the narrator is omniscient because she gives insight into the thoughts of Janie, Pheoby, and the gossipy Eatonville women sitting on their porches. Thoug...

Genre

Basically, we follow Janie for her whole life. Early on we discover exactly what motivates her – the quest for true love – and for the rest of the novel we follow her exploits in her pu...

Tone

Hurston’s tone is one of deep appreciation and joyous celebration of the richness of African-American culture. She depicts her black characters holistically, with a whole range of flaws but a...

Writing Style

That's right, Shmoopers. We have invented a new style and we cordially invite you to go out and use this term widely in conversation. Let's give you an example, shall we? "Wowzers, Tabitha, I just...

What’s Up With the Title?

The precise meaning of the title is up for debate, although it touches upon many of the book’s important themes. There are two primary points in the novel that reference the title. Firstly, "...

Plot Analysis

Janie is a romantic young girl living a relatively comfortable life with her grandmotherJanie is struck by the seemingly-magical union between a bee and a pear blossom in her youth. This affects he...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

This story doesn’t easily conform to one single plot type. Janie’s story seems to have three rather distinct parts – one corresponding to each of her husbands – each with it...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The adult Janie returns to Eatonville without her new young lover and without her silk dresses. The town is curious about what happened to her, and Janie tells her best friend Pheoby the story of h...

Trivia

Zora Neale Hurston grew up in Eatonville, Florida, where much of Janie Crawford’s story is set.Hurston was never able to support herself with her writing so she died in a welfare hospital.Pro...

Steaminess Rating

Sex is seen pretty negatively in the lives of Janie’s mother and grandmother. Janie’s mother was violently raped, and Nanny had a baby by her slave master, so that was probably rape too...

Allusions

Bible: Archangel Michael from Rev. 12:7-8 – "angel wid de sword" (2.52); Isaac and Rebecca from Gen. 24 – "at the well" (5.98); St. Paul (6.148); Methusalem from Gen. 5:27 – "old...
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