Essay on The Sentiment of Oprah, Not Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay on The Sentiment of Oprah, Not Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Oprah took a magnum opus, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and remade it into an entirely different story that did not comply with the book. By altering Janie’s character, moral fiber, relationships, and public acts, it changed the meaning of the novel. The symbolism and the significance of the title varied from the book and the story morphed into a tale of love when made into a movie. Zora Neale Hurston’s book held a disparate meaning before it fell into the hands of Oprah, who annihilated it.
Janie’s character obtained strength in the movie when she did things that most women of her time would not have done and she would not have done in the book. When Joe and Janie Starks went to build the town of Eatonville, Janie helped out by carrying logs and doing laborious work with the other women. In the book, she never would have been allowed by Joe to do all that work. “‘Jody classed me off. Ah didn’t…Ah always did want tuh git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh. When Ah wasn’t in de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hands and sit dere’” (Hurston 132). Joe did not allow her to do many things that he or any other people from the town did because he thought of her better than that so he classed her off from the other people of the town which made her higher so she couldn’t hang out with them or do many of the things that they did. He also would not permit her to do some of the things that he did because of her gender. Men thought of women as lower, therefore they had fewer rights and freedoms unless they had an accompanying man with them. “‘Dat’s right, but Ah’m uh man even if Ah is de Mayor. But de mayor’s wife is somethin’ different again. Anyhow they’s liable tuh need me tuh say uh few words over de carcass, dis...


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...York, NY: HarperCollins, 2000. Print.
Kikaya, Feza, and Zahra Gordon. "Oprah Winfrey's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" receives mixed reviews." Silver Chips Online [Silver Spring, MD]. 9 Mar. 2005. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. .
Masaeed, Khaled A, and Rebecca Few. "Teaching African American Literature | Zora Neale Hurston." uncp. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. .
Miller, JDove. "Movie vs Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God." hubpages. 17 May 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. .
"SparkNotes: Their Eyes Were Watching God: Themes, Motifs & Symbols." SparkNotes. B&N, 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. .
Their Eyes Were Watching God. Dir. Darnell Martin. Perf. Halle Berry. Harpo, 2001. DVD.

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