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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Powerful Essays
Zora Neale Hurston was a remarkable woman and writer of the early 20th century. Her works were thought provoking and radical for a woman of color in the early 20th century. Her works evoked a sense of control for women of color. Hurston’s work did not go without ridicule; some of the ridicule came from her fellow African-American counterparts, such as Alain Locke and Richard Wright. These two ridiculed the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and her place in the literary canon. Over the course of the years, many professionals have argued the need to include Hurston and her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, many people have argued what part of the canon she belongs in and what novel can teach students. Genevieve West, Gay Wilentz, Carla Cappetti, and John Lowe argue their cases of why Hurston is relevant to teaching students in Approaches to Teaching Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Other Works. One also has a theory as to why the novel should be taught.
Genevieve West argued the importance of teaching Hurston in the classroom in her essay, “Teaching Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Process of Canon Formation.” She discussed the manner in which she approached Hurston’s work and she allowed the students to read reviews of Hurston’s other works, such as Jonah’s Gourd Vine and Mules and Men. The students discovered various aspects of Hurston’s work. They discovered “Hurston’s work is opportunistic ” (22) and the students went on to further discover Hurston’s work “exploiting black culture for white readers”(23). Once the students have discovered what others have stated about the author, West issued the chance to read reviews of Their Eyes, in which they discovered positive and negative reviews of the novel. ...

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...re Watching God.”
Approaches to Teaching Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Other Works. Ed.
John Lowe. New York: The MLA of America, 2009. 54-66. Print.
West, Genevieve. “Teaching Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Process of Canon
Formation.” Approaches to Teaching Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and
Other Works. Ed. John Lowe. New York: The MLA of America, 2009. 20-26. Print.
Wilentz, Gay. “False Gods and “Caucasian Characteristics for All”: Hurston’s Radical Vision in
Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Approaches to Teaching Hurston’s Their Eyes Were
Watching God and Other Works. Ed. John Lowe. New York: The MLA of America,
2009. 27-36. Print.
Wright, Richard. “Between Laughter and Tears.” Rev. of Their Eyes Were Watching God, by
Zora Neale Hurston. New Masses. 5 Oct. 1937: 22+. Rpt. In Cronin 75-76. Rpt. Gates and Appiah 16-17.
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