Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a beautiful and captivating novel that captures the essence of African American life in the early 20th century. The novel tells the story of Janie Crawford, an African American woman living in Florida, and her journey through life as she searches for her true identity and voice.
The novel is divided into three parts, each of which represents a different stage in Janie's journey. In the first part, we meet Janie as a young girl living with her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny, a former slave, has high expectations for Janie and wants her to marry a wealthy man for financial security. Nanny arranges for Janie to marry Logan Killicks, a farmer who is much older than Janie. Janie is unhappy in the marriage and eventually runs away with Joe Starks, a smooth-talking man who promises to take care of her.
As Janie moves through life, she comes to realize that she is searching for something more than financial stability. She wants to find her own voice and identity, and she wants to find true love. In the second part of the novel, Janie is married to Joe and living in Eatonville, Florida. Joe becomes the mayor of Eatonville and expects Janie to be a proper mayor's wife. However, Janie is not content with this role and longs for something more. Joe becomes increasingly controlling and abusive towards Janie, and she eventually becomes involved in a romantic relationship with a young man named Tea Cake.
Janie's relationship with Tea Cake is a turning point in the novel. With Tea Cake, Janie finally finds the love and companionship that she has been searching for. Tea Cake is a free spirit who allows Janie to be herself and encourages her to find her own voice. In the third and final part of the novel, Janie is living with Tea Cake in the Everglades. Janie is finally able to express her true self and find happiness. However, their happiness is short-lived as a hurricane hits the Everglades, devastating the area and leading to Tea Cake's death. Janie returns to Eatonville and reflects on her life and the lessons she has learned.
Throughout the novel, Hurston explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and the search for love and happiness. Janie's journey is a powerful reminder of the importance of staying true to oneself and following one's dreams, despite the obstacles that may arise. The story is also a poignant commentary on race and gender in America during the early 20th century.
Hurston's writing is simply stunning. Her vivid descriptions and powerful characters make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in African American literature and the human experience.
In conclusion, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate readers today. It is a beautiful and poignant story of one woman's search for identity and love, set against the backdrop of African American life in the early 20th century. Whether you are a literature enthusiast or simply looking for an engaging read, this novel is not to be missed.