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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 Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women.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.
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 12 hours 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 1 day ago by Lauren Freston
This book is highly regarded as a classic and that's fine. It's a good story, the prose is solid, but the dialogue makes it impossible for me. Read morePublished 1 day ago by John Milas
This book truly deserves a place among the great books in American literature. It is well written in wonderfully rich, lyrical prose with frequent quotable epigrammatic insights... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Raymond G. Harder
This was a well-written novel in regards to the challenging life of a young, black woman in the early part of the 19th century. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Melva M Gingrich
Very good book. As a long time resident of Central Florida, it was very interesting to read about Eatonville and the surrounding areas.Published 6 days ago by Jeanne Chase
Enjoyed this book from start to finish. Thurston did a great job in her portrayal of Janie. Worth the read.Published 6 days ago by nancy m sabon