Their Eyes Were Watching God is a groundbreaking novel by Zora Neale Hurston, one of the most influential writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Set in 1930s Florida, it tells the story of Janie, an African-American woman who defies conventional gender roles and chooses her own path in life.
Through richly drawn characters and evocative prose, Hurston paints a moving portrait of love, identity, and self-discovery that continues to resonate with readers to this day. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Hurston’s work, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a timeless must-read that will captivate and inspire you.
The novel tells the story of a black woman named Janie who is searching for her own identity as she moves through the trials and tribulations of life. Despite being set in the early 20th century, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is still relevant today. The novel addresses issues such as gender inequality and racism, while exploring themes like love, loss, and self-discovery. Whether you’re a fan of Zora Neale Hurston’s writing or are new to her work, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a must-read that is both thought-provoking and beautifully written.
Janie is introduced to you as the story begins. She was raised by her grandmother in Florida. Janie grew older and discovered that she was colored. “Ah looked at de picture a long time an’ saw it was mah dress an’ hair, so Ah said, Aw, aw! I’m colored,”(9)
This shows that Logan was not the man Janie thought he was, because a man who loves his wife would never ask her to do such a disgusting task. After she left Logan, Janie went off with Joe Starks, also known as Jody. He took her to Eatonville, Florida where he made her his business partner and told everyone that she was his wife. “Ah’m de mayor yo’ honuh!”(87) he would say. Jody was a very good provider, but he was also very controlling. Janie had to pretend to be someone she wasn’t around him, which caused her to be unhappy.
The next man in Janie’s life was Tea Cake Woods. He was very different from Jody, as Tea Cake was more loving and free-spirited. “When you goin’ be man an’ woman? ‘Cause Ah’m needin’ it”(127). Unlike Jody’s controlling nature, Tea Cake allowed Janie to be herself.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel about the journey of self-discovery that Janie experiences throughout her life. Zora Neale Hurston’s beautifully written story explores the complexities of relationships and identity, making it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers today. Whether you’re looking for an engaging read or deeper insights into human nature, Their Eyes Were Watching God is well worth your time.
Janie’s lover, Joe Starks, is a wealthy business owner. Janie and Joe married and moved to Green Cove Springs, a new city. This hamlet was only 10 houses in size, but Joe Stark increased “everything.” Joe acquired twice the area of the community and became mayor. He constructed a post office and supply store as well as twenty additional residences in the town. He took care of its residents. After 20 years together, Joe died.
Janie’s life after the death of Joe is not easy. She was stuck in a marriage that she never truly wanted, but stayed for stability. Being married to Joe taught Janie many things about herself and helped her grow as a woman. After his death, Janie felt alive again and found ways to express herself through writing poetry, painting pictures, and travelling.
It is an incredibly well written and moving story about self-discovery and freedom that has become widely celebrated since its publication in 1937. Whether you are a fan of Zora Neale Hurston or have never heard of her before, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a must-read novel that explores the complexities of human nature and relationships.
Tea Cake married Janie and relocated to Jacksonville. He took a job down there and tried his hardest to look after Janie more than any of her previous husbands had. Tea Cake attempted his best to make Janie happy. Even though Janie had a lot of money (she inherited it from Joe Stark), Tea Cake never let her buy him anything. Tea Cake became ill after years of the finest care that Janie has ever received, rabies entered his system.
He scratched Janie, who became mad too. Before long, Tea Cake died and Janie lived alone in the house they had shared. Janie’s relationship with Tea Cake was very special. Despite all of her past husbands taking advantage of her or disregarding her needs and wishes, she always found happiness with Tea Cake. He was kind, loving, and attentive to her every need. He provided for her financially as well, even though he didn’t need to do so.
Unfortunately, their time together was cut short when Tea Cake contracted rabies and ended up dying from his illness. Even though she was devastated by his death, Janie found comfort in knowing that he had loved and cared for her during their time together. She eventually moved on and lived the rest of her life alone, but she always remembered the love that she shared with Tea Cake.
The serum that he needed to recover took too long to arrive, and one day he showed up with a rifle. Janie was prepped and armed. “She saw him tense all over as he aimed his weapon and pull the trigger. The fiend in him had to be slain, but Janie was the only thing alive that he could see. No sooner than did they ring out did they meet again, like echoes of themselves. Tea Cake collapsed when his bullet embedded itself in the joist above Janie’s head.” (175) Tea Cake died, but Janie was arrested for self-defense and subsequently released because of it.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a powerful novel about resilience, self-discovery, and relationships in the face of oppression. Set against the backdrop of Jim Crow-era America, Janie’s struggle to find her own voice and identity amidst societal expectations is one that resonates deeply with readers today. Driven by an unflinching honesty and searing prose, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a truly timeless work that continues to inspire generations of readers.
Zora Neale Hurston’s genius is in her ability to get the reader to see things from her characters’ point of view, and not from their own. This novel is a perfect example of that. Zora Neale Hurston has been criticized for her use of dialect in her writing, but I believe that it is one of the things that makes her writing so unique and interesting. The way she captures the speech patterns and vernacular of her characters makes them come alive on the page. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a novel about a woman’s journey through life, and it is told in a way that is both beautiful and tragic.
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” has often been on my mind. To me, the most memorable line from it is “It isn’t any sort of business proposal; no race after property and titles.” This was a game of love. I had lived Grandma’s life, so now I wanted to live my own. (108) This meant that someone should not adore someone because they made you; instead, they should adore someone because they loved them.
Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel about a woman, Janie Crawford, and her journey to find true love. Zora Neale Hurston was an African American author during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. Zora Neale Hurston was born in 1891 in Eatonville, Florida. Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937. Zora Neal Hurston died in 1960.