A Book Review of Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston enriches our sense of her childhood world by using sensory language and manipulating the reader’s view by articulating the contrast between her mother’s idealism and her father’s realism.
Hurston’s diction and syntax come together to create a vivid image of the beautiful Garden of Eden that held all her needs. Hurston’s first steps into the city are identifiable by the “fleshy, white, fragrant blooms,” that were too common to charge for in the countryside, but were a gift to be paid for up in the north. THese descriptive words serve as the foundation Hurston sets up to appeal to our senses. The repeated “plenty” of tropical fruits, entertainment, land, and space form the idea of a grand fulfilling self-sufficient land, as alluded to the Garden of Eden, is a perfect world without sins, such as racism and prejudice. Her five-acre garden in which they were “never hungry” and even held enough fruit to be used as toys is used to emphasize that as a child Hurston was provided for and taken care of. Hurston creates this feeling in order for the readers to see that the perfect garden provided for her in the same way the Garden of Eden provided for Adam and Eve. The biblical analogy is pushed further when Hurston specifically chooses a Northern apple to represent temptation and curiosity. Just as Adam and Eve were tempted with curiosity to eat the forbidden fruit, Hurston alludes to the apple as the temptation that lead to the tainting of her innocence in the North; that was once preserved for her in her plentiful land. Hurston deliberately compares her father’s cynicism and her mother’s optimism to develop the conflicting ideals of environment versus experience in her childhood life. By revealing Papa’s dire predictions of “white folk were not going to stand for it…somebody was going to blow me down for my sassy tongue” and Papa’s “personal reference” on the subject Hurston effectively conveys her father’s history with white folk. Hurston’s father’s cynicism derives from his background experience of prejudice. Hurston’s Mama, however, is sheltered in the South and her comforting environment is the source of her idealism.
Hurston’s mother’s optimism that encourages Zora to “jump at de sun” reveals that Mama is uneducated full of hope in her children’s future. The competing views that influence Hurston’s childhood provide a tension in her life that she didn’t quite understand as a child, but will encounter in the North. Hurston starts with the innocence and romantic viewpoint of life, but after her experiences in the North the reality of racism creates a drastic difference compared to her idealized childhood, The childhood portion of Hurston’s autobiography is written to explicitly express her sheltered perfect garden and the temptation to wander out into the North
Love is Worth Fighting For Love is something that everyone wants to achieve at some point in their life. In the fictional novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by […]
Throughout much of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry are portrayed as polar opposites. Though they both occupy the role of a young African-American mother living during the […]
Desmond Tutu once said, “A person is a person through other persons…. I am because other people are.” In essence, what Tutu is saying is that without other people to […]
The entertainment of a Harlem cabaret hypnotizes Helga Crane, the protagonist of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand. She loses herself in the “sudden streaming rhythm” and delights in the sexually suggestive moves […]
Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in seven weeks while she was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, researching the country’s major voodoo gods and studying as an initiate under […]
Despite disparities in the poetic styles of Sterling Brown and Arna Bontemps, each author was equally effective in conveying the “new voice” of the black American during the Harlem Renaissance. […]
In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston leaves part of the title ambiguous and therefore open to interpretation. Throughout the novel, the characters mention or allude […]
Their Eyes Were Watching God The Undying Power of Will The traditional human existence encounters immense and miniscule transformations in predominant viewpoints directly affecting subsequent proceedings as individuals embark upon […]
Jealousy in Their Eyes Were Watching God In her article “Listening to Jealousy,” Sara Eckel explains how jealousy can be a useful emotion that can bring a couple closer together […]
Zora Neale Hurston enriches our sense of her childhood world by using sensory language and manipulating the reader’s view by articulating the contrast between her mother’s idealism and her father’s […]