Zora Neale Hurston was one of the first widely acclaimed black writers to "assimilate folk tradition into modern literature and express her interpretations of the black culture throughout her books" (Bailey, 175). She was also one of the most influential of black American writers during the twentieth century because she exceeded the barriers of race, sex and poverty. Hurston's most acclaimed work is said to be Their Eyes Were Watching God, and has been read, adored, rejected, reviewed, and badgered by many literary critics. "In a book rich with imagery and black oral tradition, Zora Neale Hurston tells us of a woman's journey that gives the lie to Freud's assertion that 'the difficult development which leads to femininity seems to exhaust all the possibilities of the individual'" (Morgan, 163). In this as well as in other of her writings, Hurston expresses many of her opinions of race relations, sexism, and classism through her characters, themes and imagery.
The novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God focuses on a character named Janie who is raised by her grandmother on a white plantation in Georgia, and until seeing a photograph of herself, she has always assumed that she is white. She loves her grandmother, but after her grandmother's death, she realizes that she resents her as well. Her grandmother has been strict with her and has taught her that love is obtained only through marriage. Janie feels that her grandmother has taken all of her dreams away. Although she is independent, Janie marries three times. Because of her grandmother she marries Logan Killicks, who works Janie so hard that she decides to leave. Then she meets Joe Star...
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...ir Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2008. Print.
Dawson, Emma J. Waters. Images of the Afro-American female character in Jean Toomer's Cane, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Michigan: UMI Dissertation Information Service, 1990.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Wagvtching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print
Kubitschek, Missy D. "`Tuh de Horizon and Back': The Female Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God." BALF 17.3 (Fall 1983): 109-15.
Morgan Grant, Alice. ed. All About Zora: Views and Reviews by Colleagues and Scholars. Florida: Four-G Publishers, Inc., 1991.
Wall, Cheryl A. "Zora Neale Hurston: Changing Her Words," American Novelists Revisted:
Essays in Feminist Criticism. Ed. Fritz Fleischmann, New York: G.K. Hall and Co. 1982:371-93.
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