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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 up her hair, constraining Jan...

Setting

Slavery in the southern United States, though abolished by the time of Janie’s life, has a profound effect on the book. This horrific history grounds all discussion of racism and emerges most...

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. Though...

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 pursuit o...

Tone

Hurston’s tone is one of deep appreciation and joyous celebration of the richness of African-American culture. She depicts her characters as having a whole range of flaws...but also redeeming...

Writing Style

Yup, lofty and down to earth. It's a combination that sounds odd at first—but hey, the combination of chocolate and peanut butter probably sounded weird until people realized it was amazing. A...

What's Up With the Title?

The precise meaning of the title is up for hot debate (nothing hotter than a literary debate), although it touches upon many of the book’s important themes. There are two primary points in the...

Plot Analysis

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

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

This story doesn’t easily conform to one single plot type. Janie’s story seems to have three distinct parts—one corresponding to each of her husbands—each with its own distinct plot line....

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...

Trivia

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

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). In m...

Allusions

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)Methuselah from Gen. 5:27—"old as Methusalem" (7.12)Saul (7.27...

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