Tag Archives: zora neale hurston

Nature imagery

“Janie walked to the door with the pan in her hand still stirring the cornmeal dough and looked towards the barn. The sun from ambush was threatening the world with red daggers, but the shadows were gray and solid-looking around the barn. Logan with his shovel looked like a black bear doing some clumsy dance on his hind legs” (31).

“The morning road air was like a new dress. That made her feel the apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet. After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them” (32).

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Web.

Notes: vivid imagery, figurative language, the presence of nature

Identity in Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Ah was wid dem white chillun so much till Ah didn’t know Ah wuzn’t white till Ah was round six years old… Whe nwe looked at de picture and everybody got pointed out there wasn’t nobody left except a real dark little girl with long hair standing by Eleanor. Dat’s where Ah wuz s’posed to be, but Ah couldn’t recognize dat dark chile as me. So Ah ast, ‘where is me? Ah don’t see me.’

‘Dat’s you, Alphabet, don’t you know yo’ ownself?'” (Hurston 9).

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

Notes: Janie was confused as to what he identity was as a child. The white family that her family worked for had clear concepts of what defined someone’s identity. Racial divisions.

Their eyes were watching god

“Seeing the women as she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.”

Notes: What I especially liked about this passage was the way Hurston uses words and actions as sorts of weapons to cause mental harm. The women are expressing their envy by being indirect with things such as laughter and questions.

Janie’s disillusionment

“The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up  the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (25).

“Janie made her face laugh after a short pause, but it wasn’t too easy…It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that night feeling cold. He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her thoughts” (43).

“…but none had the temerity to challenge him. They bowed down to him, rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down” (50).

“She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over. In a way she turned her back upon the image where it lay and looked further. She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. She found that she had a host of thoughts she had never expressed to him, and numerous emotions she had never let Jody know about. Things packed up and put away in parts of her heart where he could never find them. She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen. She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them” (72).

Notes: constant disillusionment, reality not aligned with her expectations,  Logan & Jody reality vs. images of trees/flowers/blooming nature clashing, constant hope/ belief of something better out there for her

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Collins, 1937.