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. "She found an answer seeking her, but where?...where were the shining bees for her (11)?" Though tragedy invades her life, it does not cripple her, but strengthens her. Alone at novel's end, having loved and lost, Janie sits in her home, banished of the "feeling of absence and nothingness (183)." Her road to discover led to herself, and she gains a better understanding of the world she lives in and how small a thing happiness is comprised of: "If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk. It's so many people never seen de light at all. (151)" Instead of Hurston portraying racial unwholeness, she portrays the African American as being racially healthy. She was discarded by the black writing movement of the 30's and 40's for picturing the African-American as whole instead of downtrodden, oppressed people. Hurston was no militant, out to prove no theory. Capturing the essence of Black womanhood was more important to her than social criticism.
Comparison of Hurston's life and work is ironic. Though Janie, having...
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Johnson, Barbara. "Metaphor, Metonymy and Voice in Their Eyes Were Watching God." Modern Critical Interpretations: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Kubitschek, Missy Dehn. " ‘Tuh de Horizon and Back': The Female Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Modern Critical Interpretations: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Pondrom, Cyrena N. "The Role of Myth in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." American Literature 58.2 (May 1986): 181-202.
Wright, Richard. "Review of Their Eyes Were Watching God." Zora Neale Hurston - Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad, 1993
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