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Their Eyes Were Watching God
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PAST Group Reads 2018 > Their Eyes Were Watching God- Aug 15-Sept 30- SPOILER THREAD

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message 1: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
This thread is to discuss what happens in Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Stop reading if you haven't finished and don't want to see SPOILERS.


QNPoohBear | 16 comments The hurricane in the novel was the real life devastating hurricane of 1928. Apparently Hurtson made the hurricane more powerful than it really was but the devastating effect it had on the black migrant community was very much real. It is estimated that 2,500 Floridians were killed and a disproportionate number of victims were African American

“They took all of the white victims and they put them in a mass grave in the City Cemetery in West Palm Beach, let family members try to identify them, tag them, but 674 black victims were literally just dumped in a hole,” says Eliot Kleinberg, author of the book “Black Cloud: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928.Black families were not given the same consideration, and many don’t know if their relatives were dumped in the mass grave or not." For the next 60 years, the grave was unmarked and the nearly 700 black victims of the hurricane were forgotten. A road was rerouted over part of the unmarked mass grave.
https://myfloridahistory.org/frontier...

Here's another good article Zora Neale Hurston, Diaspora and the Memory of Hurricanes

I remember being sad at first that Janie lost Tea Cake after all that she went through but I loved how it made her stronger and taught her to love herself.


message 3: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
That's interesting to know it was based on a real event. Thank you for sharing!

It was heart wrenching how she lost him too, but I'm glad it spoke to the inner strength of her character that you could see in glimpses throughout the narrative.


message 4: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
From the pre-read thread:

i>Tom wrote: "I just finished it and found it to be an amazing book. My impression is that it would fit very well in a women's studies class. Janie's marriages to three different men and the differ

I agree Tom!

Each husband had a different idea about the roles and behaviors they expected from a wife. Janie gained more independence and power after Joe Starks died.

Starks wanted her to hide her hair due to possessiveness (it's only for him), and he wanted her to sit on a high chair and be separate from the lower folks. He was concerned with how people viewed him, and the mayor's wife was a part of the picture he was trying to create. He wouldn't let her talk because it wasn't her place, but at the same time, he wanted her to work in the store (to wait on them).

Tea Cake also initially thought she wouldn't want to mix in with people. I don't know if it was her demeanor or appearance that gave him that impression. He put her on a pedestal a bit, but she was able to CHOOSE what to do - to party or not, and to work in the fields or not She had more power with Tea Cake to make her own choices. Perhaps it was in his character to treat her like an equal, or perhaps the money in the bank gave her that extra bit of confidence, independence, and power.


message 5: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 29, 2018 03:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
I just realized... I don't recall her discussing anything about children. Not the desire to have them, or the desire not to have them, or anything related to birth control, timing, pregnancy, etc. It's kind of refreshing I think. Too often a woman's identify is assumed to be based on her parental status. If she doesn't have them, people feel like they have the right to ask her "why don't you have kids?"


message 6: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "I just realized... I don't recall her discussing anything about children. Not the desire to have them, or the desire not to have them, or anything related to birth control, timing, pregnancy, etc. ..."

YESSSSSSS. That was so refreshing. I get this all the time. And even more so once they hear that my reason is I don't want them. I'm constantly getting told I'll change my mind or come around eventually. It's so condescending.


message 7: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Moving this to the past reads folder, but the thread will remain open for discussion.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I really liked ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.” I think it was saying, “Girls just want to have fun.”

https://youtu.be/PIb6AZdTr-A

There was other stuff, too. The book is totally a literary classic, in my opinion.


message 9: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (last edited Nov 07, 2018 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
Nancy, did you see this on the goodreads choice voting list?
Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"


message 10: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "Nancy, did you see this on the goodreads choice voting list?
Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo""



Thanks for letting me know. I didn't get to that category yet. It's cool that an old book can be "new" again. I've read that she was considered a very good anthropologist in her day, so I look forward to reading it! There are a few others on that list that I'll want to read.


message 11: by Linda (last edited Nov 07, 2018 04:56PM) (new) - added it

Linda  | 915 comments Here's another, not about the U.S. A Cuban anthropologist went to interview a man about santeria rituals. While interviewing him, he realized that the man had been what they called cimarron, a runaway slave, one of those who had escaped slavery and run up intot he mountains, where they formed a loose community while continuing to evade re-capture. It's one of several ethnographic works that he published (others were about a Galician immigrant to Cuba, and another an interview with a vedette from 20's Cuba. The runaway slave one is Biography of a Runaway Slave by Miguel Barnet


Parker | 204 comments Nancy, she was, and you can tell it. She was part of the WPA Writer's Project during the Depression, and the formerly enslaved people she interviewed for the Florida Slave Narratives are different from the others. There's a really deep level of understanding that the others just don't have.


message 13: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "Nancy, she was, and you can tell it. She was part of the WPA Writer's Project during the Depression, and the formerly enslaved people she interviewed for the Florida Slave Narratives are different ..."

It's sad that such a talented and accomplished woman didn't achieve more recognition in her lifetime. She died poor. Today there would be a great 60 minutes segment on her at least.


Parker | 204 comments There was a whole PBS show devoted to her that aired a couple of years ago that was totally fascinating. They also did a show on Harper Lee. I highly recommend both.


message 15: by NancyJ, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
Parker wrote: "There was a whole PBS show devoted to her that aired a couple of years ago that was totally fascinating. They also did a show on Harper Lee. I highly recommend both."

This is one more reason to pay more attention to the PBS listings!


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