Feminism in Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
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The paper discusses how critics are not all in agreement about whether "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is feminist at all, but the author of this paper argues that "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is, and always will be, a feminist novel. The paper goes on to analyze how Janie, the main character and narrative voice of the novel, represents several different aspects of feminism as she moves through her life and several relationships with men. The paper highlights how Janie manages, in a time when it was the norm for woman to be dominated in their relationships, to survive and overcome that domination through her own power, and make a dramatic journey of self-discovery in the process.
From the Paper:"When Zora Neale Hurston's groundbreaking novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was published in 1937, it received some scathing criticism, some of it from her fellow African American writers. Richard Wright, who at the time had already won an award from Story magazine his own writing, said of Hurston's work, that it "carries no theme, no message, no thought..." The novel had a resurgence in popularity in the 1970s and has been studied since as a seminal piece in African-American and feminist literature. Yet critics are not all in agreement about whether Their Eyes Were Watching God is feminist at all. Through her portrayal of a strong woman seeking and finding her own voice in a small town in the South, Hurston, in my opinion, wrote a definitive feminist work, and she was an author before her time. Fifty-three after the book was published, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is his afterward to the 1990 edition, called the novel "boldly feminist" (Gates 197). Perhaps the feminism so obvious to me as a reader simply could not be appreciated until feminism had risen in the public consciousness and the civil right movement brought African-American literature to the forefront. Regardless of whether readers and critics came to the realization late, Their Eyes Were Watching God is and always will be a feminist novel."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Gates, Henry L. Jr. "Afterword." Zora Neale Hurston: "A Negro Way of Saying." New York: Harper Perennial, 1990. 195-205.
- Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Feminism in Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (2013, May 01) Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/feminism-in-zora-neale-hurston-their-eyes-were-watching-god-153006/
"Feminism in Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God"" 01 May 2013. Web. 25 May. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/feminism-in-zora-neale-hurston-their-eyes-were-watching-god-153006/>