Mrs. Schuet's AP Literature Class of '16 discussion

Their Eyes were Watching God- Zora Neale Hurston

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message 1: by Allegra (new)

Allegra Koch | 5 comments I chose this book on a recommendation from my sister, who said it was very unique and thought-provoking. After reading a brief summary of the book, I thought it sounded like it was written from a unique perspective. I also heard that the writing style was exceptionally beautiful.

I am currently on page 8 of the book, at the end of chapter 1. So far, a woman named Janie Crawford has returned to her southern home after a long hiatus. She is a middle-aged, very good-looking woman that inspires envy from her neighbors. As she makes her way home, the village gossips are gathered on the porch of Janie's best friend, Pheoby. The villagers make scathing comments about Janie and share their suspicions that the man she left town with, Tea Cake, has stolen her money and left her for a younger woman. Despite these negative comments, the men look on her longingly and the women acknowledge but resent her beauty. Pheoby stand up for Janie and brings her food. Janie shares that Tea Cake did not leave her, but she states that she could no longer be happy in the swamps where they were living. Janie is not fazed by the news that the town is gossiping about her.

My impressions so far are that the writing style is as beautiful as advertised, and the juxtaposition within the book is very meaningful. The eloquent descriptions contrasting with the colloquial speech makes reading the book very interesting. I am already impressed by the strength that Janie has.

message 2: by Allegra (new)

Allegra Koch | 5 comments As I get deeper into the book, I am becoming more and more interested in the protagonist, Janie. She is constantly told, especially by other black people, that she is acting white simply because she feels that she deserves happiness and respect. The description of Janie leaving her childhood was especially beautiful, because of the parallels with a budding pear tree. Her refusal to be stuck in an unhappy marriage was astoundingly brave considering her race, gender, and the time period. Hearing the history of the women in her family was horrible, considering that most of them were raped or abused in some way. This makes me terrified to read on, because her independence and confidence makes her all the more susceptible to abuse. However, I am impressed at her ability to remain optimistic and hopeful in true love despite all of the tragedy in her family. She does not seem to let anyone influence her, which makes me excited to read on.

message 3: by Priyanka (new)

Priyanka Kulkarni | 4 comments How does she remain confident and optimistic knowing what happened in her family and what could happen to her? How does the novel speak about feminism during that time period?

message 4: by Allegra (new)

Allegra Koch | 5 comments I believe that Janie is a true realist, which allows her to remain optimistic. She acknowledges her own pain, but is able to see through the veil of emotions in order to see that happier times are coming. Her intelligence and strong sense of self allow her to persevere through these challenges.

I definitely think that the book says a lot about feminism as well as racism, because Janie is oppressed for both her race and gender. The author makes it clear that people discriminate against her because they both fear and envy her.

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