The Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neal Hurston

930 Words Nov 6th, 2015 4 Pages
Zora Neal Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, was published in 1937 and is often celebrated for it’s realistic use of language and dialect of the black American south. However, as Wright pinpoints, there is a sense of Hurston catering to the white audience in her use of language, and prompts the question of whether ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ should be considered a ‘community text’ or comparable to minstrelsy. This essay will explore the ways in which Hurston creates a community text through her use of vernacular, as well as addressing some of the other points Wright made in regards to the lack of a clear theme or message in the novel.

The definition of a community text is a text created (to represent?) as a part of a community of people. In this case, ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, would be classed as one within the black community. The ways in which the text could be considered a community text is through Hurston’s use of vernacular and dialect. This is shown through the conversation Janie and Phoebe have near the beginning of the book, Phoebe says, “Youse just was crazy as you ever was,” to which Janie replies, “Hand me dat wash-rag on dat chair by you, honey.”[1] The vernacular creates a sense of ease and camaraderie as they’re both speaking in the same way, there’s no sense of a hierarchical divide which is important in presenting a group of people as a cohesive community. On a similar note, the characters using the Southern black dialect allows readers from…
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