Character Development in Chapter Two of Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Character Development in Chapter Two of Their Eyes Were Watching God In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God the character of Nanny dies in the beginning of Janie's adventures, but her influence is felt throughout the book. In this way, she is a minor character with effects on the major character. This makes Nanny important. The reader learns a lot about Nanny in last paragraph of chapter two, mainly from her dialogue, including unique syntax and diction, and imagery. "And, Janie, maybe it wasn't much, but Ah done de best Ah kin by you. Ah raked and scraped and bought dis lil piece uh land so you wouldn't have to stay in de white folks' yard and tuck yo' head befo' other chillun at school. Dat was all right when you was little. But when you got big enough to understand things, Ah wanted you to look upon yo'self. Ah don't want yo' feathers always crumpled by folks throwin' up things in yo' face. And ah can't die easy thinkin' maybe de menfolks white or black is makin' a spit cup outa you: Have some sympathy fuh me. Put down easy, Janie, Ah'm a cracked plate." Last Paragraph in Chapter 2 Nanny's dialogue is indicative of her time and place, which allows a fuller picture of her aside from physical descriptions. The reader can tell that Nanny is a black woman from the South, just by her syntax. Examples include the "Ah done de best Ah kin by you," which is not the way a white person from the North would phrase this statement. In the next sentence, this image of Nanny is upheld by her construction, "Ah raked and scraped and bought. . ." which is not the simplest or most common way of phrasing this statement. The diction used in these regional constructions further supports Nanny's image. Examples of this include "Ah done" instead of "I've done," "dis lil piece uh land,"instead of "this little piece of land," or "yo'" replacing "your." In Nanny's talk with Janie, she includes much imagery to support her statements. Examples include, "Ah don't want yo' feathers always crumpled.. .," Ah can't die easy thinkin' maybe de menfolks. . . makin' a spit cup outa you," and"Ah'm a cracked plate."This imagery is indicative of an upbringing involving many stories, often involving hyperbole. It is a figurative style of speech common in this culture, one which carries on today in the form of such phenomena as "dozens" and "lying sessions.
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