Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Ellison's "Battle Royal" Comparison Essay by ladiedaze

Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Ellison's "Battle Royal"
This paper explores the role of guardians in these two works and their influences on their charges.
# 16449 | 1,890 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2001 | US
Published on Jan 25, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Comparison)

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The paper studies the way Janie's grandmother influences her life in Zora Neale's "Their Eyes Were Watching God," and the effect of the unnamed boy's grandfather's guardianship in Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal". The effects of guardianship on the protagonists' outlooks in the two novels are compared. The paper looks at the settings of the novels and uses quotes from the books to illustrate the ways in which the protagonists were influenced by their guardians. The paper concludes by contrasting the differences in the guardianship experiences of Janie and the unnamed boy, focusing on the way that each character handles the influences of the guardian in later life.

From the Paper:

"The role a guardian can play, especially in the early stages of a child's upbringing usually carries on through their later stages of life. The influence exerted by the mentor is seen in the characters, Janie from, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston and in an unnamed high school boy from, "Battle Royal," by Ralph Ellison. Zora Neale Hurston was "born on 7 January in Eatonville, Florida, to John Hurston and Lucy Ann Potts Hurston" she was the fifth of eight children." (Harris, 51). Eatonville is also the town that Hurston's character, Janie, spends most of her life in. Hurston's writing style incorporates "a sense of black people as complete, complex, undiminished human beings, a sense that is lacking in so much black writing and literature." (Kawash, 172). This may explain why Hurston chose to focus on Janie and her experiences and not on the overall picture of racism that was still rampant during the early 20th century. Janie's guardian was her grandmother while the boy's was his grandfather and both of these figures were influenced early in their lives. Similarly, Janie and the boy were equally unaware of having been affected until later in their lives. However, while Janie resents the influence once she acknowledges this as the source of her failures in life, the boy is merely puzzled over his grandfather. Ironically although both these guardians had good intentions, their influence inexorably causes failures in Janie's and the boy's life. Since their guardians influenced both Janie and the boy, the ways in which these influences affected them will be discussed."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Ellison's "Battle Royal" (2003, January 25) Retrieved October 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Ellison's "Battle Royal"" 25 January 2003. Web. 18 October. 2019. <>