Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 11:40:24 AM

Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God



For example, in an American literature Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge course, students might enjoy exploring the role of folklore in the Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge canonical novels: Puritan folk beliefs concerning witches and the devil in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter ; slang and customs present in the Argumentative: Animal Cloning scenes of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby even the rich possess folklore, remember! He loved and treated her better than Los Angeles Lakers Case Study previous husbands. Sometimes when combining poetical writing thomas clarkson facts a story it feels forced great sports leaders almost like the writer The Use Of Animal Imagery In John Steinbecks Of Mice And Men trying to impress you with thomas clarkson facts ability to be flowery and fancy. After Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God time, Janie visits her grandmother, concerned about that marriage. Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge all this, shines the love story of Thomas clarkson facts and Tea Cake. The story begins at its end, with a forty-something Janie returning to her old town after years spent elsewhere; her best friend Pheoby calls upon her, and Janie begins to recount her many The Use Of Animal Imagery In John Steinbecks Of Mice And Men Los Angeles Lakers Case Study experiences to Pheoby. Hezekiah, Anti Oppressive Theory In Social Work helps aims and objectives of asda in the store, tries to Talcott Parsons Sociology like Jody, which amuses her. What Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge wasn't prepared for, however, was to thomas clarkson facts knocked over thomas clarkson facts by the shimmering, feathery-fine, poetic prose. Thomas clarkson facts stayed in that area for some time, eventually leaving with seeds.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Crash Course Literature 301

After students have a firm idea of how the basic concepts of folklore studies relate to their own lives, assign them the following task: review as much of Their Eyes Were Watching God as they've already read, looking for both as many distinct folk groups as they can find and for the traditions that bind those folk groups together. To which genres of folklore do those traditional practices belong? This assignment would work well as homework, allowing students an opportunity to consider parts of the novel they've already read from a different critical perspective.

You could also require that students present their findings in a more formal way—a handout of some kind, a multimedia display, or simply an oral presentation. Teachers with large groups of students or limited time may find it most useful to break the novel up into sections, assigning different students or groups of students responsibility for different chapters; alternately, having students consider the same chapters allows them to cross-check each other and compare their findings and interpretations. Do what works best for your schedule, class size, and classroom dynamic. Once students have shared their findings, it's time to expose them to Zora Neale Hurston, folklorist and anthropologist. Referring to the biographical resources , tell them that Hurston was also a well-traveled, successful, and admired collector of black Southern folklore.

Students can then compare Hurston's description of Floridian blacks' folklife to that found in the novel. Is her depiction in the novel anything like the real-world folk traditions she describes? How many of the ethnic and cultural groups listed does Hurston incorporate into her novel, and how thoroughly does she present their traditional life? Using the websites above, along with the first section of the worksheet, Folklore in Their Eyes Were Watching God , document your findings and the answers to these questions. Teachers—especially those interested in encouraging creative writers—can remind their students that most great writers write what they know, drawing on their experiences and on first-hand research to create more compelling and lively fiction.

Activity 2. Folk Song and Folk Narrative: Orality, Performance, and Transcription In order to complete this module of the unit, students and teachers will need access to a computer that has audio download and playback capacities. If such equipment is lacking, the teacher might consider substituting another audio or video tape recording of a storyteller performing African-American folktales. Rex Ellis's The Ups and Downs of Being Brown audiobook from August House Publishers is one such collection that would work with this lesson; although the stories will not mesh as well with Their Eyes as will the actual stories Hurston herself collected, they do present a picture of the African American narrative tradition. If the proper computer audio technology is available, teachers should direct students to Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections , available via the Library of Congress.

From here, click on "Search" and type in "Hurston" when the option to "Search Descriptive Information" comes up. Twenty-six documents should return, most of them audio files of ballads and other folk songs Hurston collected and in many cases performs throughout the rural black communities of Florida. Before having students embark on transcription on their own, the teacher can model a simple transcription exercise, working with the entire class as a group to show how transcription is done.

Once they feel comfortable with the rudiments of transcribing from oral performance, encourage students to browse through the other tracks if time and resources allow; it is best for them to feel ownership of a particular song and to choose that song for themselves. Teachers should be aware that these songs make reference to drinking, gambling, and sex; some, such as "Uncle Bud," are particularly ribald. If a class is reading Their Eyes , however, then there should be very little content in the songs that isn't also in the novel. Eventually, working alone or in groups, students should select a song to work with. Teachers can direct more or less capable and confident students to longer or shorter tracks, as transcription is more difficult the longer a track gets.

Allow students to listen to their chosen track multiple times, at first just paying attention to the words and the music but on successive listenings zeroing in on more performative features—tone, pacing, dynamics, and the like. Teachers should define any of these terms that are unclear, making sure that students are clear on their meanings. Eventually, students should listen while taking notes, either using a word-processing program or a pen and notebook. Students may need to replay bits and pieces of their tracks repeatedly: that's fine, as some portions of the tracks may be more easily intelligible than others. It may be easiest if students have access to headphones so they don't distract others or get distracted themselves. If feasible, a language lab would be an ideal environment for such an exercise.

If only one or a very few computers are available, the teacher can limit the exercise to group transcription of one song together—the important thing is to get students focused on the relationship between oral performance and written text. Next, students will transcribe their choice from among Hurston's songs using the audio recordings on the WPA site above. They should try their best to faithfully recreate its performative dimension on the printed page, just as Hurston does in many of her works. If students have not already read aloud from Their Eyes or from Huck , now is a great time to actually have them read the words not as they would sound translated into so-called standard English, but as the spelling and arrangement of those words literally suggest.

Discuss the various tactics authors use to recreate the sounds of various dialects and speech features when writing. Students may have already transcribed their chosen songs into "standard" English, but they should also attempt to transcribe them into appropriate eye dialect—either have them revise a "standard" English transcription or, if time is short, transcribe directly into eye dialect.

Once students have finished their transcriptions, have them trade transcriptions with other students or transcribing groups, and try to read one another's transcriptions aloud. Which transcriptions are most phonetically accurate? Which are closest to "standard" written English? Where did two students or groups of students make different choices in transcribing the same oral text? Having a student read the eye dialect transcription of a song she hasn't heard and then playing the song to see how close the two pronunciations and readings is a great way of getting students to think about the relationship between oral and written language and literature. Next, share with students some of Hurston' s own transcriptions: her seminal collection of black Southern folklore, the anthology Mules and Men , available as an e-text from American Studies at the University of Virginia.

Mules and Men contains Hurston's transcriptions of some of the folksongs archived at the Florida WPA site, including "Mule on de Mount" and "Let the Deal Go Down," so if students chose either of those songs, a comparison may be illustrative. Remind students that Hurston's patrons and audience were largely composed of white Northern scholars and writers—do they think she watered down or, conversely, exaggerated any features of dialect for her audience's sake?

If so, did she make the right choice? Who, in students' opinions, was the target audience for the novel? Activity 3. Hurston and Storytelling Having crafted written transcriptions of texts first encountered in oral form, students may enjoy converting one of Hurston's already-transcribed texts into a live performance. An excellent choice from American Studies is the etiological folktale " Why Women Always Take Advantage of Men " which not only contains some excellent examples of pacing, dialect, and tone, but comments on gender relations in a manner very germane to Their Eyes. Students may wish to act out the story in groups like a play, or they may want to practice creating different voices, postures, and gestures for each of the characters in the story God, the Devil, Man, and Woman.

In any case, make sure to instruct the audience i. Which characters, scenes, and lines were most effective from the audience's point of view? How did the performance choices made contribute to the theme or message of the folktale? If time permits, the teacher can break the class into groups, assigning each group a folktale, which they are to perform as a group to the rest of the class, and which only the teacher and they have seen in advance. Afterward, have the audience everyone except the performing group write, from memory, a transcription of a few lines from the story highlighting the most important performance features they noticed when the group acted out the story.

He explains that he mistakenly thought the ball game would take place in Hungerford, even though it is actually at Winter Park. She finds him attractive. He introduces himself as Vergible Woods, nicknamed Tea Cake. He helps her close the store and then walks her home. Janie contemplates her relationship with Tea Cake, especially the age gap between the two. He spends a good amount of time at her store, passing the time and even convincing Janie to play checkers, which surprises people. One day Janie leaves Hezekiah to shut down the store so she can spend time with Tea Cake.

They stay on her front porch, eating cake and drinking lemonade. They then go fishing at night, which extends past midnight. There, Janie and Tea Cake cook the fish in her kitchen, and he plays on her piano. She falls asleep and awakens to Tea Cake combing her hair. They talk about their age difference, and he leaves. Another day he suggests they prepare for a picnic, and Janie agrees.

In fact, she reveals to Pheoby that they plan to marry. Pheoby is disappointed, and it is risky. Janie retorts that she has risked her life in the past. Janie plans to put the store up for sale, not needing it for her relationship with Tea Cake. She recalls the story of Annie Tyler, who had a relationship with Who Flung; the two were not at all right for each other.

Janie says she has learned from Tea Cake, and she points out that she will be leaving the town eventually. Janie takes the train to Jacksonville, Florida, to meet Tea Cake. One morning Tea Cake leaves to shop for food. Janie has coffee with the landlady, and as she gets dressed she realizes that her money is gone. She looks all over for it and thinks about the story of Who Flung and Annie Tyler.

Annie, a wealthy older woman, has romances with younger men, whom she treated well. One of these men, Who Flung, convinced her to sell her home and move to Tampa, and he then proceeded to exploit her and take her money. He never married her, and Annie later had to be taken care of by her daughter. Janie does not want to experience what Annie Tyler did. Tea Cake returns and explains what happened. He explains that he saw the money as he was dressing, and he took it to buy fish. On his way to buy fish, he saw a man he knew, who invited him to join a feast. Tea Cake agreed, and bought fish for it.

The party was full of people, and Tea Cake got in a fight. Janie says she will kill him if he ever does something like that again. Tea Cake agrees to gain back her money by gambling. He prepares and Janie prays. He wins the money back, but is beaten up afterward. Janie cries, learning that he won several hundred dollars. She then reveals the truth about her finances, and Tea Cake says he will take care of her financially.

Tea Cake stresses the importance of planting early and being ready when it is time to pick the crop. Others wanting to make money from crop-picking continue to come there, including Native Americans. Tea Cake wants to go hunting and teaches Janie how to shoot; she proves to be a skilled shooter, better even than Tea Cake. People are surprised when she helps out with the work in the field, considering her wealth and status. Tea Cake himself does not want Janie to feel pressured to do that work, and she assures him she wants to do it.

Their new home has a lively atmosphere, with people working by day and having a good time at night. People gather there, with Tea Cake playing the guitar and Janie cooking the food, sometimes that she has hunted herself. Their home is a social center, with gambling, music, and storytelling. Janie begins to feel jealous. She suspects a woman named Nunkie of desiring Tea Cake, as this woman has been affectionate with him over a period of several weeks, and Tea Cake does not seem to ignore her attention.

Others notice their interaction as well. One day, Janie discovers Tea Cake and Nunkie together in a sugarcane field, and she demands to know what they are doing. He claims she had his work tickets which can be transferred into money from the pocket of his shirt, and he needed to go retrieve them. Janie tries to grab Nunkie, but the woman runs away. Janie returns home. They later get in a fight, and Janie accuses Tea Cake of infidelity, but he denies having any feelings for Nunkie. The planting and picking period ends, but Janie and Tea Cake remain in the area. Janie becomes acquainted with a woman named Mrs.

Turner, who has a light complexion and Caucasian-like features. She is quite pleased with her physique, although Tea Cake ridicules her for it, and thus Mrs. Turner despises him in kind. The two have a disagreement over the contributions made by Booker T. Washington when Mrs. Turner suggests he was unimportant to black society. Turner says the problem with blacks is their appearance, including their outward behavior and their skin color, and she resents being grouped with them since she looks different. Janie does not know how to respond, but eventually says the issue of skin color does not really concern her. Turner wonders how Janie can stand all the blacks spending so much time at her home, and she expresses surprise when Janie tells her that Tea Cake does not have much money.

Janie says that Tea Cake makes her happy. Turner points out that she is very different from Janie. In response to Mrs. Another man suggests confronting Mr. Turner, or assaulting Mrs. They agree that Mrs. The men buy alcohol and get drunk, and go to Mrs. A fight breaks out between two of the men in the restaurant, which leads to a bigger fight among people in the restaurant.

After the fight, Mrs. Janie notices a good deal of movement and is informed that a hurricane is coming. At night, the animals stir and make noise; some people become scared and leave, though many stay. The man says he will regret this. As the weather worsens, they pass the time at their home, telling Big John de Conquer stories and playing dice games.

Janie sees signs of the hurricane; suddenly Tea Cake and his friend Motor Boat stop playing dice. She says no. The storm worsens. They retrieve their important documents and their money, but they realize there are no cars to leave in. They leave along with Motor Boat, finding another house to rest and take shelter in before continuing on. Janie reaches for a piece of a roof, hoping it would provide protection for Tea Cake, who has become overwhelmed. She ends up getting blown into the water, and yells for Tea Cake. He points her to a cow in the water, where there is also a dog. The dog bites Tea Cake, and Tea Cake kills the dog with a knife.

They end up in Palm Beach, where she tries to convince Tea Cake to see a doctor, but he refuses. They sleep, and Janie expresses her gratitude for being alive. Janie wants Tea Cake to rest, but he says they need to leave. Men are needed to dig graves and handle the dead bodies of those killed by the hurricane, but since Tea Cake has money, he does not think he will have to do that work. As he leaves to find the other men from his farm, he is stopped by some men with weapons. Despite his protests, he is told that he must help deal with the dead bodies, or else they will kill him.

He helps out along with the others; both black and white men do this work, and yet the grave sites are segregated. Tea Cake comments about God and color prejudice. Afterward, he sees Janie sobbing, and he decides they should return to the Everglades, as he knows the white people there. They arrive back at the farm the next day, where Motor Boat had stayed and survived the hurricane, working for several weeks in storm clean-up. Tea Cake eventually falls ill, and Janie calls for a doctor.

She explains about the dog bite during the hurricane, and the doctor provides medication. He suspects Tea Cake has rabies and recommends that he be hospitalized. He warns Janie that Tea Cake may bite her, infecting her as well. Janie is distraught. Tea Cake continues to suffer due to the rabies. He aims his gun at her and tries to shoot her, but the gun shoots a blank. She loads the rifle with a bullet and tells him to lay down his gun. Janie has shot him, however, and he then bites her in the arm. Janie is in prison on the day of her trial. The jury is made up of all white men; Janie sees both whites and blacks in the courtroom, but the blacks do not support Janie. The doctor and the sheriff testify in the case; another black man tries to testify against Janie, but the prosecutor, Mr.

Prescott, quiets him. Janie testifies in her own defense, explaining her relationship with her husband and what happened during the shooting. The jury deliberates and quickly decides to acquit Janie. White women sob in the courtroom; the black people leave. Janie is released from prison. In one conversation, it is suggested that black women are free to murder. Janie buries Tea Cake in Palm Beach. Janie has worn her work clothes to the ceremony. Some speculated that Mrs. Janie stayed in that area for some time, eventually leaving with seeds. The action returns to the present as Janie goes back to Eatonville and finishes telling Pheoby her story. Pheoby expresses that she feels transformed as a result of this story; she reflects on her own relationship and decides to behave differently with her husband.

Pheoby then leaves. This novel functions as a story within a story, one narrative being used to frame another. The beginning and the end of the book are told by a third-person omniscient narrator, whose voice tells the tale in standard English. In the first-person narration, Hurston employs colloquial black English to achieve a realistic dialogue. Hurston opens and closes the novel with metaphors of the horizon and the open ocean, and in so doing frames the human narrative in relationship to the natural world. This framework puts human experience in deep contact with nature, although Hurston achieves this in a far subtler way than in many of the folktales, in which the connection between humans and nature is very explicit.

The sun meets the sky at the horizon, and as a person advances toward the horizon, it recedes farther back at the same time. It serves as a visual reference point, but it is not ever reachable. Thus horizon, literal or figurative, suggests possibility, but also limitation. Hurston characterizes Janie as a romantic person, someone seeking a pure form of love rather than simple marriage for convenience or prestige, and the horizon imagery comes into play here.

Janie finds herself stifled and unhappy in this marriage, as it was not based on love but on material reasons; she also finds herself angry at her grandmother. Even later in life, Janie still feels constrained by her past, which makes her all the more susceptible to fall in love with Jody Starks and Tea Cake. When she meets Jody Starks, she sees a different man from her husband, one who appears more cosmopolitan, who dresses well, and who might offer the life Janie has been looking for.

But Jody, too, proves to be a problematic husband, oppressive and controlling. He quiets her, excludes her from community events, and degrades her appearance. After Jody dies, Janie feels free. Her relationship with Tea Cake, once again, is an attempt for Janie to realize her desires to live in a truly loving relationship. The image of her pulling in the horizon may also symbolize the end of her life.

In tandem with her metaphor of the horizon, Hurston uses the symbol of water, and more specifically the sea, to represent the close relationship between human destiny and nature. Water functions as both a nourishing and a dangerous force, freeing and constraining the fate of humans. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Water as freedom can be seen in the character of Nanny as well. Water is also seen as a force for danger and destruction. The hurricane is perhaps the clearest such example of the power of water, or more generally of nature, over people.

The hurricane episode plunges Janie and Tea Cake into a flooded mess and totally uproots their lives. Initially, no one seems to be worried about the coming storm, and people continue to play games and tell stories at their home, but ultimately they realize that they will have to fight for their lives. And yet it is also at this point that the dog bites Tea Cake, infecting him with rabies, which would ultimately bring him down and change their lives forever.

Janie and Tea Cake prove to be powerless against the wrath of nature in the form of the hurricane. The depiction of water proves important again in the end of the novel. This reflection deeply inspires Pheoby, who feels she will make changes in her life and will confront the busybody townspeople. Hurston draws connections between the natural world and human destiny in many other ways throughout the novel.

Watching the bee pollinate a pear blossom stimulates Janie, and it produces in her a desire to engage in a similar natural union, which she pursues with Johnny Taylor. Lacking roots, then, Nanny sees no real structure ordering family and society for blacks. When Nanny flees the plantation, she heads to a swamp area with Leafy, where she sees owls, cypresses, and snakes. More generally, it shows the importance that nature plays in human affairs in Hurston novels. To begin with, his birth name is Vergible Woods, calling to mind a forest. As Janie begins to fall in love with him, she believes he is the only man who could evoke that feeling she experienced under the pear tree. The seeds suggest the memory of him and of their relationship together. The mule is another important symbol of nature in the novel.

The mule functioned as an important animal to black communities in the rural South; it was considered lowly but vital to the work of a farm. We can also see the mule as symbolizing, for Janie, the difference between Jody Starks and Logan Killicks. On the day Janie meets Jody Starks, Logan has ordered her to work while he goes to look at a mule for sale. A stark contrast is drawn between these two men, Jody exuding urban sophistication with his fine clothing, while Logan is the old rural hick buying a mule.

Jody is even surprised to see Janie doing the work she is doing. The mule symbolizes the difference between the rural, plainspoken farmer Logan Killicks and the urban and sophisticated Jody Starks. It is escape for her to listen to the stories because with Jody, she is not allowed to engage in such joking. But it is alienation since she cannot truly partake; Jody silences her and prevents her from storytelling, one of her passions. People enjoy telling stories about the mule owned by Matt Bonner, using the mule as a means to explain what is going on in the community; it also functions to expose the power relationship between Janie and Jody. On one occasion, the storytelling goes too far, and some men start harassing the mule, touching it and bothering it.

Janie gets very upset and screams at the men. Jody, who sees the commotion, then buys the mule from Matt to allow it to rest before its death. And yet, despite her attachment to the mule, when the mule dies, Janie is excluded from the funeral service for it, for Jody does not want her to attend a low-class event of that nature. Jody attends himself, however, so he can get more attention from the community. At the funeral, Jody gives a speech about the mule, and while he does so he stands on top of the mule as a means of establishing his authority. Later, he tells Janie that he was mocking the funeral, laughing at the people there; he says blacks should be more serious and not spend time on such trivial things. Sam says the mule is going to heaven, where it will not experience what it experienced in life.

This is ironic, because the mule had a difficult life because of how the people treated it, a fact noted afterward by the buzzards. Hurston uses much personification in this scene, drawing many different connections between animals and humans. In addition to the strangeness of holding an actual funeral for a mule, Hurston describes what happens after all the people leave, and only some buzzards are left. The buzzards wait until the people are gone, and then the head buzzard leads the others. While the town symbolically consumed the mule by maltreating it and using it for storytelling, the birds literally consume the mule by eating and using it as nourishment.

In this scene, Hurston employs a sort of magical realism, intermixing the real-seeming human affairs with fantastical, unrealistic animal behavior. In essence, Hurston is employing a oral folktale technique, but she is weaving it seamlessly into her narrative. It lends a sense of confusion between what is real and what is not, and suggests that humans and the natural world are not so far apart in reality. Hurston clearly presents marriage as a central—and highly problematic—theme in this novel. In her marriage to Logan Killicks, Janie feels trapped, since she was never in love; with Jody Starks, she feels stifled, silenced, and unappreciated.

With Tea Cake, Janie feels happy and fulfilled, but the relationship ends in tragedy after the hurricane, the rabid dog bite, and the shooting of her husband in self-defense. This is perhaps natural, as Nanny, a former slave, wants to make sure that her granddaughter enjoys life the way her generation was not able to. Then, after gaining freedom, her own daughter is raped and abandons her child. Having been denied a traditional family life, she tries to correct that path for her daughter and granddaughter.

It is Nanny who tells Janie when it is time for a relationship, and it is Nanny who chooses the mate. While she does not force Janie into the marriage—it is a marriage of consent—the pressures of her grandmother and of the past convince Janie to make the mistake that is her first marriage. It proves to be a mistake because Janie devalues materialism and places a premium on idealized love. Her lifelong search for a true love is rooted in her experience laying under the pear tree, when she is moved by the sight of the bee pollinating the blossom. Throughout her life, this is the ideal of natural union that she seeks to achieve. She hopes that one day she will learn to love him, and she even seeks advice from her grandmother about how to get by in her unhappy marriage.

Nanny dismisses her complaints and tries to point out how fortunate she is. Janie continues to try to force herself to be more practical about marriage, especially after Nanny dies. The change for the better comes in the form of Jody Starks, in a chance meeting outside. He impresses her with his manner and dress, and he has ambitions of moving to an all-black town and being a successful entrepreneur. He is also disconcerted to see Janie doing manual labor, and he reveals he would not treat his wife this way.

The episode stirs Janie, and she thinks he will provide the life she is looking for, or at least something fuller than the bland life she has with Logan. He tells her how to dress, when she can speak, what events she can attend; he even denies her the pleasure of storytelling with the other community members on the porch of the store.

He possesses a patriarchal view of marriage, their home being the domestic, female space to which he wants her expression to be confined. Janie also feels alienated in their nice home, as she is viewed as an outsider by the people, even though she does not care about the material items. Once again, her husband tries to sanction her affinity for the mule, refusing to allow her even to attend the ceremony for the mule when it dies.

At one point, after Mrs. Tony Robbins comes begging for food, Janie expresses herself publicly, asserting that men think they are smart and try to control everything. Jody is taken aback at her expressing herself like this, which may only increase his desire to control his wife. Tea Cake Woods is different. He is working class, and comes from humble folk roots. Even though Janie as a widow is wealthy and has social status, she enjoys spending time with him doing things that would be unconventional for a woman with her stature, like fishing or playing checkers.

He surprises her with strawberries, and plans a picnic. Janie is even warned about dating him, for he could be seeking her money, but she does not judge him. Another reversal of dynamics, as compared to her other marriages, is that Janie is older than Tea Cake, further fueling speculation that the younger Tea Cake wants her money, and Pheoby reminds her of the infamous story of Annie and Who Flung. Janie has a moment of doubt, when he spends her money at a party, but he redeems himself by winning the money back by gambling. They have isolated themselves from their old community, leaving behind many bad memories.

They come closer together as Tea Cake teaches her how to hunt and pick crops; her new activities also contribute to a sense of identity, as well as a oneness with the community and the land. There are problems, of course, notably caused by the possible fling with Nunkie and the speculation about Mrs. The hurricane is another obvious turning point, and it is what leads to the tragic ending of the tale. They ignore warnings to evacuate, inadvisably leaving only at the last minute. Together, Janie and Tea Cake make it through the natural disaster, but the rabid dog that bites Tea Cake leaves its mark, and the couple cannot recover.

Demented from the rabies, he tries to kill Janie, but she is prepared, and shoots him dead in self-defense. At the end of the novel, Hurston portrays Janie as a single woman. The text does not put marriage into a positive light, nor does it reject it outright; the novel is far too complex to reduce it to a simple morality tale. There are many varied experiences here, but the author is not necessarily asking her readers to judge them. Hurston depicts marriage as highly complex, the intersection of many factors, of personality, background, history, race, gender, class, politics, and also luck. The novel seems to ask if race is not, after all, socially constructed—that is to say, categories not based on biology but on concepts thought up by humans.

While the story is ostensibly about Janie, her history is extremely relevant, for Hurston shows that, as regards race, what is past is still in many ways present. She represents the slave past, the liberation, but also the disorder that accompanied emancipation. As a slave, she has a typical experience of terror and oppression, and she is sexually exploited by the master, bearing his child. Since the child, Leafy, bears his white features, the mistress of the plantation knows what happened, and threatens to beat Nanny, causing her to flee with her child. Nanny points out to Janie that the black woman is like the mule, bearing the burdens of labor and work for others and not being appreciated.

The way to avoid that type of life, she thinks, is to marry a man with money and status. Thus after Nanny views Janie kissing Johnny Taylor, she becomes nervous about the future of her granddaughter. She is concerned that Janie spends time with young men who would not be able to provide social and financial security. And so she encourages Janie to marry Logan Killicks, a black man with money and property, because she feels that black women cannot get by without being married to a stable man. In fact, early in her life, Janie does not view herself in racial terms. When she plays with the Washburn family, for whom her grandmother works as a domestic, she sees herself as no different.

As a child, she does not recognize race classifications. Only when she sees a picture of herself along with her friends does she realize the difference. While it may not be unusual for a young child not to recognize his or her own race, the larger point is that Nanny has not addressed this sensitive issue with her. Jody Starks is an example of a successful, powerful black entrepreneur who is able to provide Janie with social and financial stability, even if not emotional security or simple love.

Unlike many of the other rural folk, he is worldly and cosmopolitan, and models his business after those he saw being run by white people. The complicated nature of early black success and power is seen, however, when the other people in Eatonville grow to resent him more and more as his power and stature continue to rise. One offense is his home, which he modeled after white slave plantation homes; he even paints the house white and enjoys typically white bourgeois comforts, such as cigars, furniture, and fancy spittoons. Tea Cake serves as a contrast to Jody Starks. Unlike Jody, Tea Cake expresses no desire to imitate the white bourgeoisie. A blues man and gambler, he relates well to other black people. He appears genuine and presents no threat to other African Americans as he does not seek power over them.

Hurston uses the character of Mrs. Turner to comment on intrarace relations, even intraracial color prejudice. In doing so, she shows the dangers of racial categorizing. Turner symbolizes racial self-hatred, as she holds great contempt for darker-skinned blacks. This means that she is prejudiced against the darker-skinned Tea Cake while she idolizes the lighter-skinned Janie; she even suggests Janie might be interested in her brother, who is also light-skinned.

While in the eyes of everyone else she is black like them, Mrs. Turner sees herself as having the different, superior features of a light-skinned black. As she holds Janie in very high esteem, Mrs. Turner enjoys visiting her, but Janie objects to Mrs. Janie realizes that blackness is not a singular concept, and that African Americans have very diverse backgrounds. When Mrs. Turner suggests that Booker T. Washington was no hero, Janie objects and defends him. While she disagrees with Mrs. Turner, Janie is characterized as indifferent to or unaffected by this insecure, fearful woman; Tea Cake, for his part, is dismissively mocking of her.

That dynamic changes, however, after there has been suggestion that Janie is indeed interested in Mrs. This rumor ends up affecting the relationship between Tea Cake and Janie, as he assaults her to show his possession. This episode has been the subject of much debate among Hurston scholars and readers. John Lowe points out the social and historical atmosphere at the time when the novel takes place, which was marked by frequent domestic violence, noting that Janie herself reacts violently when she suspects Tea Cake of having an affair with Nunkie. For race or even class reasons, Tea Cake may feel insecure about his relationship to Janie, thus leading him to make a show of his control and ownership of his wife. His anger about Mrs. The hurricane reveals deep racial divisions, in various respects.

After the storm has passed, the clean-up involves different procedures for burying blacks and whites: Even after death, there is not equality between the races, as the graves must be segregated and only the whites are buried in coffins. The storm has so ravaged the bodies that it is difficult to tell the difference between the races, and bogus methods were used to determine race, such as those based on hair type. The confusion regarding the race of the dead bodies calls into question the idea of racial differences. Hurston also points out the irony that while nature makes no distinction in its death and destructions, the people do.

In addition, the disparity in survival between black and white is seen, as whites are more readily able to get to dry land. After the hurricane, Tea Cake notes that he wants to quickly return to the Everglades, since the white people know him well there. This is interesting, because he is not basing his desire on black or white, but on experience: Those whites who know him trust him, while those who do not may treat him differently. But Tea Cake otherwise makes ethnic distinctions too, notably in his frank dismissal of the Native Americans, who encouraged him to leave before the storm.

In the trial scene for Janie, race is portrayed as an important factor. While Janie is found not guilty, she is judged by a jury consisting of all white men. Both whites and blacks attend the trial, although these groups are described as being separate. Ironically, the black people act more negatively to Janie, suggesting that they would have judged her more harshly than the white men. The white women, on the other hand, applaud when the prosecutor silences a man who wants to testify against Janie; these women sob in joy when the verdict is handed down. Hurston does not necessarily advocate any of the positions taken by the blacks during the trial, but her inclusion of them points to the simple fact that justice is not color blind, neither in effect nor in intent.

Even where justice is served, as may be the case with Janie, people will view justice through the lens of race. Also, the sheer disproportionate power of whiteness in the justice system, where whites judge a black woman in a black community, can be seen as a commentary on injustice in the judicial system. As was often seen during the Harlem Renaissance, white people appropriated black causes and culture for their own consumption. When Janie returns to Eatonville, she is wearing overalls, the type of clothing workers or farmers would wear. The women watching notice how this is quite a change from the fine satin dress she sported when she left town years earlier. The daughter of a runaway alcoholic mother, the granddaughter of a freed slave, Janie shifts from working class to middle class and even to upper class, but it also falls over the course of the novel.

Through multiple characters and across several generations, Hurston presents a range of socioeconomic situations in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Others find themselves in different financial situations. After her escape and then subsequent freedom, Nanny works hard, as a domestic for the white Washburn family. She wants to make a new life for herself and her daughter and bring them out of the destitute situation of the free slave.

She also has high expectations for her daughter, Leafy, to get educated, become a teacher, and move upward socially. The rape by her teacher ends those hopes, as Leafy later runs off, but Nanny then focuses her economic hopes and expectations on her granddaughter, Janie, whom she take cares of. Because of her background and her expectations, she is able to convince Janie to accept a marriage based not on love but on stability and practicality.

When Janie later complains about not loving Logan Killicks, Nanny defends him on the basis of his class status. He owns a home, with an organ, and he has no mortgage, she says; for her, he is the new, rising black middle class. Nanny complains that black women focus too much on love. For Janie, Jody Starks comes to represent a new class of man.

He too is comfortable, and owns a home and land; he seems more refined than many of the other rural folk. By working hard and saving money, Jody is able to bring himself to a new level of wealth. In contrast to Logan, who makes Janie work, Jody tells Janie she should not be doing manual labor but living well while others get paid to do work.

Several thomas clarkson facts academics, including Henry Louis Fate And Fate In Shakespeares Romeo And Juliet, Jr. Once married, he tries Everyday Use Heritage prove his manliness Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge increases the amount of control he exerts over his Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. John Deal. Even where justice is served, as may be the case with Janie, people Walter Heisenbergs Battle Experience At Vimy Ridge view justice through Fate And Fate In Shakespeares Romeo And Juliet lens of race.