The Impact of Hurston's Life Experiences on the Character Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Impact of Hurston's Life Experiences on the Character Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston explores the life of an African American woman from the south who is trying to find herself. The protagonist of this novel is Janie Crawford. She is trying to defy what people expect of her, and she lives her life searching to have a better life. Zora Neale Hurston’s life experiences influence the book in many ways, including language, personality, and life experiences.

Through her use of southern black language in the book Zora Neale Hurston illustrates the vernacular she grew up speaking. Black Vernacular is “any of the nonstandard varieties of English Spoken by African American. It is also called Black English, Black English vernacular.” In the “Black Vernacular” article, it states that “African- American dialects tend to drop the [t] from words like rest and soft. They likewise tend to drop the [r] in words like bird, four, door, and father.” In the novel, Janie said, “Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree” (24). The word more in the quote drops [re], and there are differences in pronunciation. The book is full of southern black vernacular. Therefore, it shows a connection between the author and Janie, they all speak the same dialect.

The author’s outgoing personality has created the character Janie. Zora Neale Hurston has a charming, interesting personality that enjoys people, and stories. According to the short biography by Valeria Boyd, “Zora Neale Hurston”, “Zora Neale Hurston could walk into a roomful of strangers and, a few minutes and a few stories later, leave them so completely charmed that they often found themselves offering to help her in anyway they could.” The author is a very sociable person, this also shows ...


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...he’s treated as if she’s Joe’s servant, not wife. After Joe’s death, Janie met her third husband Tea Cake. Tea Cake teaches her how to play checkers, hunt, and fish. Soon, Janie fell in love with him, she decides to leave everything behind, and elope with Tea Cake to the Everglade. The main character and the author are willing to sacrifice and risk having a life they wish.

Zora Neale Hurston’s life experience influence the character Janie in the story. The author uses a unique Black vernacular in the story. She makes us feel as if we are actually in her book, through her use of the Southern Black vernacular and admirable description. Her outgoing personality parallels Janie’s life, after Janie met Tea Cake, she finds happiness. There are many connections between Zora Neale Hurston and Janie, the author’s exciting life has influences her to produce a good book.

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