Their Eyes Looked Onward : Zora Neale Hurston

2748 Words11 Pages
Sruthi Rameshkumar
Mr. Rossi
AP English III (7)
2 March 2014
Their Eyes Looked Onward
How Zora Neale Hurston uses relationships to fulfil an individual’s quest for identity
In her 2013 novel Allegiant, author Veronica Roth stated, “I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me – they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could” (Roth). In other words, relationships are what humans derive strength and experience from, which they use to build and develop their own identity. This universal idea of discovering one’s identity can be seen in literature from all ages, from Veronica Roth’s Allegiant, to Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In 1937, Zora Neale Hurston
…show more content…
Janie immediately begins with a specific narration style and establishes her role as story-teller by creating a voice: utilizing dialect while speaking and a formal tone when having profound thoughts. Her use of dialect evokes a level of comfort with the audience which is necessary to reveal her initial struggles and confusion that set the path for Janie’s quest. Janie’s initial mission is to find a state of being that she has not yet seen or achieved in her own life. Her down to earth nature is reflected in her dialect, displaying her quest to be both genuine and truthful. Author Janice Daniel claimed in her essay that, “With the flavor of black folkloric dialect, her destination is “tuh de horizon” (284), and her journey is “de big ‘ssociation of life” and “di big convention of livin’” (18); but her quest is the same search for identity as that of any hero of romance” (Daniel). Janie’s dialect clearly reflects her ethnicity, the time period, and her social status. However, because her tone is so truthful, her audience is instantly able to connect with her search identifying her as their heroine. The statement from Daniel’s article contends that each individual travels through life in order to find who they truly are, but Janie’s identity, built by her surroundings and experiences, is genuine due to the honesty in her storytelling.
The narration style Janie
Get Access