Essay about Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay about Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Length: 1505 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God


In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston portrays the religion of black people as a form of identity. Each individual in the black society Hurston has created worships a different God. But all members of her society find their identities by being able to believe in a God, spiritual or other. Grandma’s worship of Jesus and the “Good Lawd,” Joe Starks’ worship of himself, Mrs. Turner’s worship of white characteristics, and Janie’s worship of love, all stem from a lack of jurisdiction in the society they inhabit. All these Gods represent a need for something to believe in and work for: an ideal, which they wish to achieve, to aspire to. Each individual character is thus able to find himself or herself in the God that they worship.

Grandma embodies the initial faith of the book. Her faith is in the spiritual and her allegiance is to Jesus and God. Of all the characters in the book, Grandma has the least power. She is the only one who has lived through slavery and witnessed the change in history that took place after the Civil War. During slavery, she is not only materially oppressed through lack of power and material wealth, but also emotionally oppressed. Because of the oppressive society created by slavery, she has no control over her own life. The only way she can feel as if she has any power is to believe in a God. Her worship of God, therefore, becomes a representative power for her. She is empowered by the belief that she can at least count on God, if in nothing else. When she is escaping from the plantation she is against all odds, but she says that “And den de Good Lawd seen to it dat Ah wasn’t taken…But nothin’ never hurt me ’cause de La...


... middle of paper ...


... for him rids her of powerlessness, and she regards him as God, because she loves him and is ready to leave at his command. After Tea Cake’s death, Janie still clings to her love for him, which empowers her. As long as “he [isn’t] dead” she can contain the power of her love for him, and “he could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking” (pg. 193). Through her faith in love, Janie is able to conquer powerlessness. At the end of the book she displays her newfound power by telling her story.

Grandma’s spiritual convictions and the other characters’ material faiths caused them all to overcome their powerlessness. The title Their Eyes Were Watching God reveals each character’s belief in a different God. But all these different faiths had one purpose: to find one’s own self and sense of power in the society in which they inhabit.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Looking for the Horizon with Tea Cake in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston

- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston centers around the life of Janie Crawford, an African American young woman, who is seeking ‘the horizon’ comprised of ideal living, experiences, and authentic love. After having two failed marriages, Janie meets Tea Cake, a suave, charming younger man who truly loves Janie. By exposing Janie to the world, and providing her with experiences and memories, Tea Cake directs her to the ‘horizon,’ where she can lead a fulfilling life. The selected passage begins as Janie concludes sharing her story with Phoeby....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston,]

Powerful Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston Essay

- Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God: Exposing Strength to Defy Society Although happiness can be attained by everyone, not everyone is able to choose their own contentment. Criticism has been and still is a problem in today’s society. Some people are forced to do what others tell them to do, not allowing them to decide the paths of their life. This problem can be observed in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s quest for her identity emerges from her experiences, which make her discover that strength is the key to find self-fulfillment and true happiness despite a cruel society....   [tags: Marriage, Happiness, Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
1028 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

- Zora Neale Hurston, an acclaimed African-American writer, wrote the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God during a time when women did not have a large say in their marriages. The novel follows the main character Janie in her quest to find what she thinks is true love and happiness. Hurston highlights the idea of healthy and unhealthy relationships throughout Janie’s three marriages. Each marriage had its advantages but they were largely overshadowed by their disadvantages resulting in Janie learning the hard truth about married life for a women of color in the 1920s....   [tags: Love, Marriage, Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
1211 words (3.5 pages)

The Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Hurston Essay

- In the novel The Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston the main character, Janie goes through many events that shows her growing up. Also these events show her becoming an educated woman who finds herself. From her first kiss to her three relationships the author makes this change in Janie visible. Throughout the novel these events show Janie maturing and becoming educated about herself and the world around her. From a young age Janie Crawford has always been a beautiful girl. She lived with her grandmother, Nanny while growing up with a white family, The Washburns and she played with all their children....   [tags: Marriage, Love, Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
1321 words (3.8 pages)

Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay examples

- Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God     Zora Neale Hurston an early twentieth century Afro-American feminist author, was raised in a predominately black community which gave her an unique perspective on race relations, evident in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Hurston drew on her on experiences as a feminist Afro-American female to create a story about the magical transformation of Janie, from a young unconfident girl to a thriving woman.  Janie experiences many things that make her a compelling character who takes readers along as her companion, on her voyage to discover the mysteries and rewards life has to offer.              Zora Neale Hurston was, the...   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Free Essays
3388 words (9.7 pages)

Essay about Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

- Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston portrays the religion of black people as a form of identity. Each individual in the black society Hurston has created worships a different God. But all members of her society find their identities by being able to believe in a God, spiritual or other. Grandma’s worship of Jesus and the “Good Lawd,” Joe Starks’ worship of himself, Mrs. Turner’s worship of white characteristics, and Janie’s worship of love, all stem from a lack of jurisdiction in the society they inhabit....   [tags: Hurston Their Eyes Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
1505 words (4.3 pages)

Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God Essay

- Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God It’s no wonder that “[t]he hurricane scene in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a famous one and [that] other writers have used it in an effort to signify on Hurston” (Mills, “Hurston”). The final, climactic portion of this scene acts as the central metaphor of the novel and illustrates the pivotal interactions that Janie, the protagonist, has with her Nanny and each of her three husbands. In each relationship, Janie tries to “’go tuh God, and…find out about livin’ fuh [herself]’” (192)....   [tags: Hurston Eyes Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
2177 words (6.2 pages)

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

- Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God      “’…but she don’t seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.’” A woman’s search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the continuing philosophical debate of free will versus determinism, the question arises as to whether or not free will exists. Do people really have the capability of making decisions on their own. OR Is life already determined, and whatever we do is (and always was) the only thing that we could have done at that time, conditions being what they were....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Philosophy Essays]

Powerful Essays
1403 words (4 pages)

Essay on Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

- Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) is a search for self-fulfillment and true love. On a porch in a small town called Eatonville a story is told about an attractive African American women's journey. Her name is Janie Crawford. Her struggle to find companionship and herself starts as a young girl who had lost both of her parents. She lives with her grandmother who is a nanny for a wealthy white family. Janie would play with the children without realizing a difference in their race....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
856 words (2.4 pages)

Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as a Creation Story Essay

- Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as a Creation Story Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is, among other things, a creation story. For creation stories are not simply myths about the historical origins of the universe and humankind but metaphors for individual maturation. Individual perception is, to a large extent, what constitutes the world. Hence, the individual is the source and embodiment of the world; Janie is, the narrator tells us, “the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop” (72)....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
2560 words (7.3 pages)