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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 Decades later, however, outrage has been replaced by admiration for her depictions of black life, and especially the lives of black women.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.
Easily one of the best books I've ever read. Aside from being a story with a female lead, the story had so many powerful resonances with me.Published 2 days ago by Andrew
Not a stranger to the language, having gown up in the South, but the richness of the vernacular was a bit hard to follow sometimes. I loved the story.Published 2 days ago by Swanee
Zara Neale Hurston is a fantastic writer - vivid details and compelling story - I felt as though I was watching a movie play out before me.Published 2 days ago by Steelmag22
This is truly a classic and teachable from so many direction you will not be able to stand it. You can run a class for nearly a month discussing the levels, layers, textures, and... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Ramon SVJ
Good read. Easy to follow with the audio commentary . It's nice to read African American novel not about slaveryPublished 7 days ago by Heather Chandler
A lovely short novel, somehow both sparse and dense, rich and spacious. I've never read anything quite like it. I may not in the future.Published 13 days ago by Alan Rothe