Essay Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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At some point in any person’s life he or she will be the victim or victimizer of stereotyping. This all too familiar aspect of society is one of the most unfortunate occurrences in life. For many, the harsh generalizations that stereotypes are based on crush the spirit of free will. Yet there are some brave people who choose to counter these stereotypes and live life as they choose, despite what judgments may come. In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the main character, Janie—an African American woman of the 1930’s, struggles with accepting the stereotypes that affect her life. She tries to fit in with them at the cost of her happiness and self-expression. Through her revelations and life changes that defy these stereotypes the audience discovers just how damaging and self-defeating stereotypes can be. Stereotypes can lead to loss of cultural pride and loss of self-expression because they are often based on racist and or sexist generalizations, people feel obligated to fit in with stereotypes, and people lose a sense of independence when they try to follow a stereotype.
When one thinks of any cultural group, racist and, in some cases, sexist stereotypes that have permeated society may come to mind. Yet do these stereotypes accurately depict the people of this cultural group and if not how do these stereotypes affect these people? As a people it is easy to become disillusioned by the labels their group is given. The people then become less proud of their culture even though the way their culture is labeled is racist and false. Hurston’s audience witnesses this when Tea Cake is forced to bury the dead after a hurricane. He tells Janie how uncomfortable he feels around the white people he is unfamiliar wit...


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...edia of Alabama. Auburn University, 21 Apr. 2008. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their eyes were watching God . New York: Perennial Classics, 1998. Print.
"Their Eyes Were Watching God: About the Author." The Big Read | National Endowment for the Arts. Arts Midwest, n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .
"Their Eyes Were Watching God: Critical Essays: Love, Independence, and Judgment as Major Themes of Their Eyes Were Watching God - CliffsNotes ." CliffsNotes . Wiley Publishing, Inc., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .


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