Response to the Article on Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Response to the Article on Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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I recently read your article titled “Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Your article mentions how Zora Neal Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God while she was collecting folklore on Vodou in Haiti. You proceed to discuss the Haitian Vodou imagery present in the novel as well as the influence that it had. You claim that Hurston’s use of Haitian Vodou doesn’t signal a rejection of modernity, but rather an acknowledgement of it (158). Although I disagree with your argument that Ezili is the predominant Vodou element in Their Eyes Were Watching God, I agree with your claim that Hurston’s use of Vodou not only empowers Janie to transcend the stereotype that black women had preordained constraints, but also gives the character of Janie a deeper meaning.
Although you provide a detailed analysis of the similarities between Janie and the Vodou goddess, Ezili, you fail to address the breadth of the Vodou imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ezili is certainly an important goddess in the Vodou religion, but you leave out other ones that play an important role in the novel. Dumballah is one such god that you fail to mention, and he is represented by one of the characters in the novel. Dumballah is represented as a snake on Vodou culture, and he is also the source of peace and tranquility. He is also supposed to be a benevolent father who doesn’t speak much, but radiates a comforting presence. In my opinion, he is represented by Jody, because Jody shares certain characteristics with Dumballah. Jody becomes the mayor of Eatonville and helps the whole town through his benevolence. Although he doesn’t treat Janie very well, he acts as a loving ...


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...erves to indicate Janie’s increase in maturity as her life as she had new experiences.
Your analysis of the Vodou imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God is detailed, even though it is not comprehensive. Your assertion that the Vodou imagery Hurston uses empowers women is justified, because I contend that her husbands were all just stepping stones for Janie’s quest for self-discovery. After each husband Janie has, she progresses on her quest and becomes stronger. You claim that Janie’s tale serves to highlight the potential that exists within all black women (167). I concur, because Janie shows a degree of self-expression and independence that was unexpected of most black women at the time. Hurston’s use of Vodou imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God serves to challenge the stereotypical representation of African American women in the early twentieth century.

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