The Life of American Women in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

895 Words 4 Pages
Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel illustrating the life of an African American woman that finds her voice through many trials and tribulations. At the heart of the story, Hurston portrays a protagonist who moves from a passive state to independence, from passive woman with no voice who is dominated by her husband to a woman who can think and act for herself. Hurston achieves the greater theme of Their Eyes Were Watching God, of self-expression and independence through her use of three basic southern literary elements: narrative structure, ¬¬¬¬¬allegory, and symbolism. A brief inspection of these three basic elements will reveal how Their Eyes Were Watching God achieves its inspiring effect.
Zora Neale Hurston uses narrative structure to convey the theme and meaning of the Their Eyes Were Watching God novel. Throughout the novel, she utilizes an interesting narrative structure, splitting the presentation of the story between high literary narration and idiomatic discourse. The long passages of discourse celebrate the culturally rich voices of Janie’s world. These characters speak as do few others in American literature, and their distinctive grammar, vocabulary, and tone mark their individuality. Zora Hurston’s use of language parallels Janie’s quest to find her “voice.” Henry Louis Gates Jr. makes a remark about the novel, that it is primarily concerned “with the project of finding a voice, with language as an instrument of injury and…