A Comparison of Outsiders in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Legal Alien

A Comparison of Outsiders in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Legal Alien

Length: 1391 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Outsiders in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Legal Alien


In Pat Mora's poem, "Legal Alien," the author describes her biracial character as being "viewed by Anglos as perhaps exotic, / perhaps inferior, definitely different, / viewed by Mexicans as alien," a description which highlights the situation encountered by people who strive to be prestigious individuals by floating between cultures and who consequently fail to be a part of any particular group (Mora 9-11). Often the individuals are biologically trapped between two probable lives, and they forge ahead to meet the opportunity of possibly belonging to the higher society while they degrade the small culture which has weaned them from birth. These people find themselves caught up in the universal ideals of achievement and prestige, and they begin to find fault with themselves and their backgrounds; they believe that their perception of themselves must be changed and improved. They must be a part of the group; however, conflict results from their selfish desires, and they are rejected by both organizations. Expressively evident in the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the conflict within certain racial groups often occurs when individuals of one race, blacks, strive to push themselves to the level of another race, whites; thus, the others left behind feel as if they have been betrayed while the whites gaze condescendingly on the black infiltrators.

The ambitious individuals often follow a course of action involving the persecution of their own fellow brothers and the adoption of the features of their ideal, or higher, society. In trying to push herself to a level above the black folks, Mrs. Turner, a mulatto woman who is convinced of her superi...


... middle of paper ...


...nt. By focusing on black society and showing the failure of an ambitious, "white" woman, she recognizes that a higher society is not necessarily better, as evidenced by the way Mrs. Turner attacks a weaker group of human beings. Mrs. Turner never comes remotely close to reaching the level of her white brothers, and she cuts her ties to her black neighbors so that she is lost and living without an identity. As Mrs. Turner insults the blacks, she claims that "'de higher de monkey climbs de mo' he show his behind," and this quotation surely seems to describe her and her situation (Hurston 136). The consequences of her prejudicial behavior have caused her to become "an American to Mexicans/ a Mexican to Americans" and nothing to herself (Mora 14-15).

Works Cited:

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Perennial Library, 1990 ed.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Their Eyes Were Watching Who? Essay

- Oprah’s interpretation of Their Eyes Were Watching God sends multiple important details and significant events on a mass exodus, completely altering the story. With a different title, changing focus, unrecognizable characters, an altered theme, and the absence of symbolism, the entire meaning of the journey skews in this false interpretation of a classic novel. The elements of racial conflict and the purity of relationships are also replaced, removed, and distorted. All of the major details in the original story never reveal themselves in the movie, making the end product calamitous....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Oprah Winfrey]

Powerful Essays
2003 words (5.7 pages)

Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God: The Undying Power of Will

- The traditional human existence encounters immense and miniscule transformations in predominant viewpoints directly affecting subsequent proceedings as individuals embark upon an expedition of lucid self-expression to explore personal identity. Literary pieces produced during times of revolution to gain equality and flourishing cultural advancement as artistic innovations, primarily in the Harlem Renaissance, communicates deliberately the liberation of the individuals frequently portrayed as characters....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
785 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on the Voice of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

- The Powerful Voice of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God The world of Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God was one of oppression and disappointment. She left the world of her suffocating grandmother to live with a man whom she did not love, and in fact did not even know. She then left him to marry another man who offered her wealth in terms of material possessions but left her in utter spiritual poverty. After her second husband's death, she claims responsibility and control of her own life, and through her shared love with her new husband, Teacake, she is able to overcome her status of oppression....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
1795 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on The Growth of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

- The Growth of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God         Human beings love inertia. It is human nature to fear the unknown and to desire stability in life. This need for stability leads to the concept of possessing things, because possession is a measurable and definite idea that all society has agreed upon. Of course, when people begin to rely on what they know to be true, they stop moving forward and simply stand still. Zora Neal Hurston addresses these general human problems in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
2959 words (8.5 pages)

Finding Hope in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay examples

- Finding Hope in Their Eyes Were Watching God     Their Eyes Were Watching God recognizes that there are problems to the human condition, such as the need to possess, the fear of the unknown and resulting stagnation. But Hurston does not leave us with the hopelessness of Fitzgerald or Hemingway, rather, she extends a recognition and understanding of humanity's need to escape emptiness. "Dem meatskins is got tuh rattle tuh make out they's alive (183)" Her solution is simple: "Yuh got tuh go there tuh know there." Janie, like characters in earlier novels, sets out on a quest to make sense of her inner questionings--a void she knew she possessed from the moment she sat under the pear tree....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
3086 words (8.8 pages)

Essay on Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God

- Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God Love plays a very important role in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes were watching God. Janie spent her days looking for love. She thought of love just as she thought of the elements of springtime: Sunny days, bright skies, a bee pollinating pear tree blossoms. She searched far and wide for this kind of perfect love. Logan Killicks couldn't give this kind of love to Janie. He may not have loved her at all. To him, Janie was just another working set of hands....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Free Essays
639 words (1.8 pages)

Choosing Sides in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Lone Star Essay

- Choosing Sides in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Lone Star A major theme in multicultural literature is the search for identity by those of more than one culture. In most cases, one of these cultures is recognized as being more advantaged and powerful than the other. In John Sayles's Lone Star and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, bicultural characters negatively stereotype members of their own "inferior" or "less advantaged" background in order to identify themselves with their more powerful culture....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Dependency in Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

- Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God describes the life of Janie, a black woman at the turn of the century. Janie is raised by her Grandmother and spends her life traveling with different men until she finally returnes home. Robert E. Hemenway has said about the book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God is ... one of the most revealing treatments in modern literature of a woman’s quest for a satisfying life” I partially disagree with Hemenway because, although Janie is on a quest, it is not for a satisfying life....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Free Essays
632 words (1.8 pages)

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Just Burn It! Essay example

- When one thinks of great literature, authors such as Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, and many others come to mind. These writers created seminal works of American literature and gave credibility to the burgeoning American literary tradition. Their work is revered as great literature for its ability to transcend cultural and generational boundaries and its capacity for appealing to people all over the world. As generations come and go, the body of great literature continually increases. Within the past thirty years a trend has developed where academics, particularly feminists, considered Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as being great literature....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
634 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about A Postmodern Tendancy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

- A Postmodern Tendancy in Their Eyes Were Watching God        ...Zora Neale Hurston lacks [any] excuse. The sensory sweep of her novel carries no theme, no message, no thought. In the main, her novel is not addressed to the Negro, but to a white audience whose chauvinistic tastes she knows how to satisfy. She exploits the phase of Negro life which is "quaint," the phase which evokes a piteous smile on the lips of the "superior" race. -- from "Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)," a review by Richard Wright     An unfortunate side effect of the postmodern tendency is often reactions like the above....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
1922 words (5.5 pages)