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African-American Women in Their Eyes Were Wathcing God and The President´s Daughter

Powerful Essays
In this paper, I will compare nineteenth-century and twentieth- century depiction of African-American women in slavery and freedom in two works of fiction- Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States, by William Wells Brown, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Brown, in his book, presents the life of nineteenth-century slave women and shows the impact of slavery on their love and marriage life. Their Eyes Were Watching God which was written a decade after Brown’s novel, shows how the change in political scenario with the ending of slavery affects the love and marriage life of an African-American woman. In both the works the main characters, Clotel in Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States and Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God, are the African-American women searching for love in different historical periods. Both women find love at some point but have it taken away from them by differing historical circumstances. In Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States Clotel’s ability to love is limited by slavery and in Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie’s love is limited by the legacy of slavery. Each novel shows different generations of African-American women in the romantic development that attests to the historical slavery. Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States tells the story of a slave girl, Clotel who ends up marrying a slave master, Horatio Green, finds love in him and ultimately is separated from him. Their Eyes were Watching God is the story of Janie’s search for unconditional, true, and fulfilling love and she spends forty years o... ... middle of paper ... ... masters or to end their lives. The tragic end of Clotel shows how in spite of finding momentarily love in her life there is no hope for a slave woman and death is the only way for her out of that life of slavery. Hurston, on the other hand, in her book opted to represent Janie as tough, courageous, and independent woman and not like the most African-American women of nineteenth-century. Janie’s character in Hurston’s work shows how even though the continuing legacy of slavery affects the love and marriage lives of African-American women but prospects do exist for them and they just have to wait for the opportunities and embrace them. Works Cited Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print. Brown, William Wells. Clotel: Or, The President's Daughter. New York: Modern Library, 2000. Print.
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