Essay about A Postmodern Tendancy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay about A Postmodern Tendancy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Length: 1922 words (5.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. Zora's work was not readily accepted in its time. Unlike fellow writers such as Faulkner and Joyce, Hurston's was not incubated by the academy until theory could catch up to inspiration. Like writers such as Nabokov, however, her postmodernity is subtle and her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is littered with trap doors to plunge the reader into a deeper interpretation of the text. Cynthia Bond picks up on this in her essay, "Language, Speech and Difference in Their Eyes Were Watching God," when she calls it a meta-linguistic project (Bond, 206)." Further evidence of this depth is in the plentitude of critical work to appear since Zora's rediscovery two decades ago and in the fact that, despite the voluminous attention given to Their Eyes Were Watching God, critics have failed to explore every facet of the novel. Ihab Hassan writes, in "Toward a Concept of Postmodernism," that we can look at writers of the past and realize their postmodernity. His theory fits with the idea that postmodernism is not a movement, but a trait that is exhibited by certain authors pushing the limits of their time. Mo...


... middle of paper ...


...h, K.A. and Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. eds. Zora Neale Hurston: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993.

Bond, Cynthia. "Language, Sign, and Difference in Their Eyes Were Watching God." Appiah and Gates 204-17.

Derrida, Jacques. "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discouse of the Human Sciences." Hutcheon and Natoli 223-43.

Foucault, Michel. "Excerpts from Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism." Hutcheon and Natoli 333-341.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1990.

Hutcheon, Linda, and Natoli, Joseph, eds. A Postmodern Reader. New York: SUNY, 1993.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. "Excerpts from The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge." Hutcheon and Natoli 71-90.

Wright, Richard. "Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)." Appiah and Gates 16.

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)

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

- In Zora Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford was an attractive, confident, middle-aged black woman. Janie defied gender stereotypes and realized others cruelty toward her throughout the novel. Behind her defiance was curiosity and confidence that drove her to experience the world and become conscious of her relation to it. Janie’s idealized definition of love stemmed from her experience under a pear tree, an experience that was highly romanticized and glamorized in her sixteen year old eyes....   [tags: Love, Marriage, Pear, Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
1498 words (4.3 pages)

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay example

- Zora Neale Hurston’s tour de force novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is told through the voice of Janie Crawford. Janie yearns to experience true love, as well has have a sense of self worth. In her early years these two ideas are intermingled, one cannot simply exist without the other. As she ages and goes through the trials and tribulations of love, she comes to find that the two are not mutually exclusive. Janie speaks about her adolescent identity by saying “Dey all useter call me Alphabet ‘cause so many people had done named me different names” (Hurston 9), this goes to show that Janie did not have an identity growing up....   [tags: Marriage, Love, Their Eyes Were Watching God]

Powerful Essays
1166 words (3.3 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 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)

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 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)

Characters, Themes and Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay examples

- Characters, Themes and Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God         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...   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
2985 words (8.5 pages)

Essay on Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God

- Positive Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the life of Janie is presented as a journey. Janie survives a grandmother, three husbands, and innumerable friends. Throughout this journey, she moves towards her ideals about love and how to live one's life. Hurston chooses to define Janie not by what is wrong in her life, but by what is good in it. Janie undergoes many changes throughout her journey, but the imagery in her life always conjures positive ideas in the mind of the reader....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Powerful Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

An Epic Search in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

- An Epic Search in Their Eyes Were Watching God In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston shows how the lives of American women changed in the early 20th century. Zora Neale Hurston creates a character in her own likeness in her masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God. By presenting Janie's search for identity, from her childbirth with Nanny to the death of Tea Cake, Hurston shows what a free southern black women might have experienced in the early decades of the century....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]

Free Essays
808 words (2.3 pages)