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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 Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women.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.
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 8 hours 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 8 hours ago by Jennifer Sloan
Since the book takes place in the south with a heavy accent, the reading level proves to be 11th grade proficiency equivalent. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Alec Taylor
A love story of epic proportions. Love of self, love of family, love of another and love of life and all its tribulationsPublished 4 days ago by Kindle Customer
An American classic. Difficult to read only because of the unfiltered dialect but a great commentary on life in the 30's for the black community. And the way they were. Read morePublished 4 days ago by McBarb