Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga Alabama, to a carpenter and Baptist preacher John Hurston and a schoolteacher Lucy Potts Hurston, was Zora Neale Hurston the author of the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Neale writes about an attractive young African American woman who finally returns to Eatonville after being away for quite a while. As she returns, there is a constant gossip in the town about her and what happened to her husband, Tea Cake. Though all of the townspeople are gossiping about Janie, her friend Pheoby Watson sticks up for her and eventually goes to visit Janie to figure out what has actually happened. After some bad marriages with men like Logan and Jody, she meets a man that is twelve years younger than her, but treats her equally, and his name is Tea Cake. As they live their lives together, a terrible hurricane sweeps through the Everglades where Janie and Tea Cake had moved away to. As they desperately try to escape form the rising waters, a rabid dog bites Tea Cake. Weeks later, Tea Cake gets sick and during his sickness he becomes angry and with this anger, Janie has no choice but to shoot him whenever Tea Cake has a gun pointed at her and is about to pull the trigger. Richard Wright, an African American novelist, argues that the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God has no theme, no message, and no thought. He says that “voluntarily continues in her novel the tradition which was forced upon Negroes in the theatre, that is, the minstrel technique that makes the “white folks” laugh” (Wright). But, as we read this story about a young black woman who wants nothing but true love but has to go through the discrimination of being a trophy wife and a worker to find the man that will treat her right. We see that ... ... middle of paper ... ...ginning of the story Janie tells us how “Didn’t know ah wuzn’t white til ah was around six years old”, because both Janie and Zora were raised to believe that they were equal to white people because they were always surrounded by them. Stated earlier in the essay, Janie marries Logan just for his wealth and that she knows he will provide for her. Hurston also divorced a man because he was getting in the way of her work. This shows how Janie and Zora do not give in to men as well as white people. Hurston creates a character that is independent for this time period which is the type of woman that Hurston is. Zora created Janie as a replica of Hurston herself. She does this to send a message that women who are confident and independent can achieve any goal they set their mind to. Saying that this story has no message, theme, or thought would be an incorrect statement.
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