Zora Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” follows a chronological life of a protagonist called Janie Crawford who is a representation of black people, though she has a mixed blood. All through the text, Hurston develops different themes like the theme of marriage and family relationships, language, discrimination and racism and also gender. This has been made efficient and possible through the employment of different styles like contrast, ideologies such as stratification ideologies and effective use of characters in the novel. In the novel, Hurston attains the success of developing Janie who undergoes marriage transformations and transition on the basis of divorce from Logan. Joe and Tea Cakes. Therefore, the novel addresses the cases of Language, gender, marriage, and family and also racial discrimination in the prevailing society.
The use of language is another essential social issue that is raised by Hurston in the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston depicts the relevance that language is in the society through the use of the Southern Black dialect. The language is dominant especially in the conversations of Janie. One of the instances that depict the use of language to raise a social concern is when Joe stands to give his speech. He says, “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliment, but man wife doesn’t know nothing” (Hurston 43).” Hurston effectively uses the Black Southern dialect to raise the issue of gender discrimination in this case. In addition to that, she is applauded for her great manipulation of narration in the novel by eliminating the monotony of narration by using idioms. For instance, “ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board, (Hurston 1).” She opens the novel with this idiom to portray the difference that exists in gender. Hurston supports the role of women in the society as people who deserve equal treatment. She, therefore, argues that they should be allowed to chase their dreams. This assertion is emphasized by Janie as she struggles in the novel to achieve her dreams.
One of the major concerns outlined by Hurston’s text is the is the discrimination based on race and gender. In the book, the issue of racism is prevalent in the society as it is depicted by the encounters of Janie and Tea Cake. The society is seen to be prevailed by chauvinistic nature of the inhabitants who seem to ignore women in the site of men. It, however, becomes worse when discrimination becomes racial and the Blacks are suffering the most. One of these cases is seen when Janie is told of the dominance of the and their prejudice against the blacks by the nanny who says, “Honey, de white man is the ruler of everything, (Hurston 14).” This indicates that amidst prejudice, racism and segregation are the order of the day. Jennie’s words depict an environment where the Blacks are there to be seen than to be heard. Bearing that Hurston’s novel is a reflection of a social group; Blacks, who have been exposed to oppression, she depicts the unending love of the Blacks towards a better future with freedom and in an environment which they are not deemed to prejudice and segregation.
Marriage and family are among the social issues that Hurston addresses in his novel. Hurlstone addresses it through the life of Janie who is married three times. Her first marriage is organized by her grandmother, though it later fails. Women are seen to be abandoned and left at home. Joe comments, “She’s uh woman and her place is home, (Hurston 43).” This is an indication that the women are depicted as weak. Hurston depicts the issue of female chauvinism in the prevailing setting because all men who have encountered with women seems to oppress them and take advantage of them. For instance, Logan threatens to kill her, he is abusive and accuses her of not obeying him. Hurston portrays him as selfish and superior that the woman; Janie, who decides to walk away.
In conclusion, Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a reflection of how the characters are watching and waiting for a divine help which seems to be accomplished. This is depicted by the fact that the characters such as Janie comes to fulfillment of what they wished and pleaded for long. She seems to have achieved the love she looked for a long time. Hurston shows the fulfillment of love that the couple enjoyed at long last. Hurston ends the novel as Tea Cake is killed by his wife Janie and the situation becomes comedy because everybody wants to revenge for Tea Cake as they say, “…she kin kill jes as many Tigers as she please, (Hurston 222)”. However, Hurston depicts much of these incidents to signify the happenings during the Renaissance.
Hurston’s, N. Zora, Their Eyes Were Watching God.