People are generally influenced by their surroundings and conditions that they are living in. When authors construct novels, the issues of their time are often reflected in their work. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, during the telling of the life of a black woman in the early 1900s, the historical time period is represented by the racism and segregation against black individuals, the stereotypes of gender roles, and the overall lifestyle of the characters- including their occupations, homes, and relationships.
The segregation and discrimination of the early 1900s is strongly evident in the novel. During the actual time period that the novel was set in, segregation was a major part of everyone 's, everyday life. Hurston uses specific examples and actual events that portray this. In the beginning of the novel the main character Janie is conversing with her grandmother, a former slave who was raped by her master, and is told that “the nigger woman is de mule uh de world” (“Their,” Novels.) Janie was raised by her grandmother who had endured inhumane treatment by white individuals. This began Janie’s life in a way that she was taught to lower herself in order to please a man. Her grandmother understood the harsh treatments and negativity Janie would encounter due to her skin color and gender and did her best to prepare her for it. Another incident which drew attention to the harsh and unfair treatments towards colored people is the entirety of Janie’s being. Because she is a quarter white, it leads to her having “separation from the black community in both the ‘Glades and Eatonville [both her homes]…” (Debuk). Janie is faced...
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...the lifestyle of individuals throughout the book is voice. “At several points in the text, Janie Starks, the protagonist, is prohibited from speaking, while at other points she chooses not to speak. Silence, then, is sometimes used as a tool of oppression and at other times as a tool of power” (Domina). The author uses a physical attribute to explain freedom- something limited to minorities in the 1900s.
Most importantly, by the end of the novel “...Janie’s dream has been ‘mocked to death by Time.’... She must accept another reality. Janie still has no regrets. Though the price has been high, she has lived the better life” (“Their,” Zora). The overall goal in life is to live one with no regrets. Through the telling of Janie’s life, Hurston portrayed common events that occured everyday in the actual 1900s; ending with Janie reaching the goal that everyone aspired for.
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