Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonI read this masterpiece for the first time in high school. The love story of Janie and Tea Cake is one of stupendous beauty. Zora Neal Hurstons text is a treasure:
So she went on thinking in soft, easy phrases while all around the house, the night time put on flesh and blackness.
Early in life, Janie is taken care of by her grandmother Nanny,
Every tear you drop squeezes a cup uh blood outa mah heart
As she grew, Janie waited for a bloom time, a green time and an orange time.
She is married off to an old, rich man, but grows restless,
There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
Ultimately , she gets an answer takes off with the ambitious Jody Starks. But, her hopes are shattered as Jodys ambitions in Eatonville, FL (coincidentally Hurstons hometown) where she feels,
Four walls squeezing her breath out. as Jody ignores her and builds his empire in the town.
He passes away and Janie meets her true love Tea Cake and she seems to have found her inner peace:
So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.
Tea Cake gives her some lessons of wisdom:
See dat? Youse got de world in uh jug and make out you dont know it. But Ahm glad tuh be the one tuh tell yuh.
She sheds her reticences and fears in her love for him:
He drifted off to sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a soul-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.
She never takes on any religion for:
All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise, they would not be worshipped.
Her love is her temple as she dreamed of under the pear trees as a young girl with Nanny.
Disaster eventually strikes, as it always does, gods dispensing their unreasoning suffering.
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.
This novel was a forgotten masterpiece published in 1935 but forgotten until Alice Walker rediscovered her - and her gravesite - in 1977. Since, it has been appreciated as the quiet, beautiful monument to a womans strength and endurance. A must read in these times of women-hating rhetoric in Drumpfs amerikkka. The attacks on Planned Parenthood and the bullshit reverse discrimination are just two of the many demonstrations of why this book is important as both a feminist and anti-racist classic.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the most beautifully evoked portraits of a woman of color that I have ever read.
Their Eyes Were Watching God Audiobook
Their Eyes Were Watching God
They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God. To call Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God an "African American feminist classic" may be an accurate statement—it is certainly a frequent statement—but it is a misleadingly narrow and rather dull way to introduce a vibrant and achingly human novel. The syncopated beauty of Hurston's prose, her remarkable gift for comedy, the sheer visceral terror of the book's climax, all transcend any label that critics have tried to put on this remarkable work. First published amid controversy in , then rescued from obscurity four decades later, the novel narrates Janie Crawford's ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny. Although Hurston wrote the novel in only seven weeks, Their Eyes Were Watching God breathes and bleeds a whole life's worth of urgent experience. Their Eyes Were Watching God begins with our eyes fixed on a woman who returns from burying the dead. Written in only seven weeks while on a Guggenheim Fellowship in Haiti, Zora Neale Hurston's novel chronicles the journey of Janie Mae Crawford from her grandmother's plantation shack to Logan Killicks' farm, to all-black Eatonville to the Everglades—until a tragedy brings her back to Eatonville.
The novel explores main character Janie Crawford's "ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel was initially poorly received.
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Their Eyes Were Watching God
This novel is the story of Janie Crawford's search for love, told, as noted earlier, in the form of a frame. In the first few pages, Janie returns to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, after nearly two years absence. Her neighbors are curious to know where she has been and what has happened to her. They wonder why she is returning in dirty overalls when she left in bridal satin. Janie tells her story to her friend Pheoby Watson, and after the story is over, the novelist returns to Janie's back steps. Thus, the story, which actually spans nearly 40 years of Janie's life, is "framed" by an evening visit between two friends. The story that Janie tells is about love — how Janie sought love in four relationships.