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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 Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women.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.
I fell in love with Janie and Phoeby and Tea cake. The characters were so well developed and the story so believable that I could not put this book down. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Carmyn W
Loved the story line, I wished that it could have been longer, I didn't want to stop reading. Really brought to light what, black women , in particular have come through. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Lenny Lee
I read this book because it was required reading for my grandson in college, and I loved it! It was so well-written and I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters!Published 4 days ago by elizabeth hebert
As I began this book I thought that it was going to be touch to read with the phonetic dialogue, however, once the story starts to take shape it was nearly impossible to put down. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Adam
How wise Janie was! To lead her life on her terms, taking the lows and highs of life in stride. Sometimes we're left with only the memories. Highly recommended.Published 12 days ago by jw
This is a book that I had not read before but I read it now because it was on a book club list. At first I had difficulty with the idiomatic language but, after a while, caught... Read morePublished 13 days ago by P. Johnson
I bought this as required reading for my son for school. It was much easier than going out and tracking it down locally.Published 13 days ago by Jennifer Sloan