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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, by Zora Neale Hurston
In the tradition of Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston's THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD captures Southern black life through exquisite use of dialect and dialogue. Though Hurston's personal involvement in the Harlem Renaissance often connects the novel to that movement, it was not published until 1937. Lacking political and societal reformation messages, it was largely rejected by the author's peers, among them Richard Wright and, later, Ralph Ellison. After decades of relative obscurity, however, the book was rediscovered by Alice Walker, who published an article entitled "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston" in MS. magazine and effectively relaunched the book into the literary world.

THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is the story of Janie's struggle to find her voice. Through three marriages, she works to overcome racial and sexual discrimination and oppression and to achieve a true independence. Her first marriage, to Logan Hillicks, is arranged and passionless, and Janie soon leaves it for a more exciting relationship with Joe Starks. Joe sweeps Janie off her feet, but his financial success, achieved through social conformity, eventually begins to suffocate her. After Joe dies, Janie marries Tea Cake and at last finds true love. Playful and spontaneous, he afford Janie the love and support she needs in order to explore and develop her own consciousness. Throughout the novel, however, Janie is never dependent on any of these men, who ultimately function as supporting characters in the story of one woman's lifelong search for self.

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The American Novel