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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 Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women.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
"Their Eyes belongs in the same categorywith that of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingwayof enduring American literature." -- Saturday Review
"The prototypical Black novel of affirmation; it is the most successful, convincing, and exemplary novel of Blacklove that we have. Period." -- June Jordon, Black World
"There is no book more important to me than this one." -- Alice Walker
Wonderful book. Story of a poor girl who overcomes many obstacles to find true love confidence and personal happiness.Published 4 days ago by mary russ
This book is a solid 1 out of 1000 (1000 meaning good 1 being Worse than looking at grass grow). And yes i would rather do ANYTHING than read this book that makes me want rip my... Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Reading Hurston is like reading poetry. Her lyrical prose combined with a beautiful story of love and heart-breaking loss will captivate the reader.Published 12 days ago by lynx
This is a different kind of read for me, but it was very good. I listened on audio and Ruby Dee was awesome!Published 13 days ago by Nicole, book lover
Mostly first person. The first review by Michael J was SPOT on. Here is a black author from early last century who writes better than most of the writers today. Read morePublished 18 days ago by DKW