Their Eyes Were Watching God Theme Analysis

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Theme is a commonly used literary device that authors use as a lesson for the reader to learn within the text. To do this, writers greatly expand on a topic to support its main idea. Often, authors include theme to display topics important to them and their opinions on those topics. In other cases, author’s use it to show an issue and how it’s viewed by society. In Zorra Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston uses the theme of how racism affects whites, blacks, and Indians, and their actions to show discrimination at the time as well as the implied hierarchy of importance. Within the novel, Hurston creates an obvious hierarchy of importance using racism throughout the novel. On the hierarchy, whites are on the top, blacks are in the middle, and Indians are on the bottom. With whites being considered the most important, blacks looked up to them and highly admired them. The “superiority of whiteness hovers over the lives of all the black characters in the book” (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1998, pg. 307) causing all of the blacks to feel inferior and feel of lesser importance. While working in the fields with Tea Cake, Janie had met a black lady by the name of Mrs. Turner. Mrs. Turner believed that “anyone who looked more white folkish than herself was better than she was” (Hurston, 1998, pg. 144). Because of this, she envied Janie and other whites while hating her own race at the same time. She thought that the whites had the power to treat her how

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