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Of Hurston's fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God is arguably the best-known and perhaps the most controversial. The novel follows the fortunes of Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eaton, Florida. Hurston sets up her characters and her locale in the first chapter, which, along with the last, acts as a framing device for the story of Janie's life. Unlike Wright and Ralph Ellison, Hurston does not write explicitly about black people in the context of a white world--a fact that earned her scathing criticism from the social realists--but she doesn't ignore the impact of black-white relations either:
It was the time for sitting on porches beside the road. It was the time to hear things and talk. These sitters had been tongueless, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins. But now, the sun and the bossman were gone, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.One person the citizens of Eaton are inclined to judge is Janie Crawford, who has married three men and been tried for the murder of one of them. Janie feels no compulsion to justify herself to the town, but she does explain herself to her friend, Phoeby, with the implicit understanding that Phoeby can "tell 'em what Ah say if you wants to. Dat's just de same as me 'cause mah tongue is in mah friend's mouf."
Hurston's use of dialect enraged other African American writers such as Wright, who accused her of pandering to white readers by giving them the black stereotypes they expected. Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women. In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston breathes humanity into both her men and women, and allows them to speak in their own voices. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What an extraordinary book -- I read it on it's 50th Anniversary, & it has stayed with me all these years. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by Sharon Hope
Here is a requirement to forget that you ever believed that to be poor, uneducated, and black was a barrier to deep love affairs, high goals, moral virtues. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by Adriennemk
4.5 stars: I loved this lyrical story of female self-actualization. Sure, there are some unnecessary detours (are two prior marriages really needed to make the point? Read morePublished 2 days ago by G. Dawson
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” was first published in 1937 and is arguably Zora Neale Hurston’s finest work. Read morePublished 2 days ago by rebecca
One had to get into the rhythm of this book but then it was a wonderful read. Hurston portrayed the different approaches to life by the characters who found happiness wherever... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Larry E. Hattersley
With each page, Hurston carefully weaves an intimate portrait of a black woman's journey to find her own identity and choose love for herself. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Lauren Freston