Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1937

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch46

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1937, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch46

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675

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Keywords:

  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937);
  • Hurston's second novel, in for a good deal of criticism - from black male writers upon its publication;
  • central features of Hurston's novel - running counter to Wright's sense of issues that black fiction should engage;
  • none of the central black characters - fighting against subservient position, imposed by whites, benefiting from the whites' patronizing protection and charity;
  • novel, against grain of male-dominated African American writing - out of print and hard to find by the early 1970s;
  • more contemporary assessment of novel - seeing author's study of African American myth and folklore;
  • novel, beginning with Janie's return to Eatonville - telling her tale to friend Phoebe, narration shifting to third-person voice, tale broadening to become story of her whole life;
  • impact of white presence upon black lives, past and present - most telling in the hours before the hurricane strikes, the scene giving the novel its title;
  • Tea Cake's group, undeniable power of the storm - sense of where to look for protection, moving beyond race to “Old Massa,” a God-like figure personified in terms of slave heritage;
  • Janie pulling “in her horizon like a great fish-net” - with penniless gambler Tea Cake, journeying to that horizon

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography