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Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston.  How does knowing the historical context of a literary work help us better understand the text? Essential.

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Presentation on theme: "Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston.  How does knowing the historical context of a literary work help us better understand the text? Essential."— Presentation transcript:

1 Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

2  How does knowing the historical context of a literary work help us better understand the text? Essential Question

3  Historical Context: the social conditions that influenced the creation of a literary work Historical Context

4 From the 1930s through the 1950s, Zora Neale Hurston was on of the most prolific African-American female writers in America. She is known for her candid portrayal of the struggle and courage of African-Americans in the rural South. She was a unique artist, folklorist, and anthropologist who remains one of the most revered writers of all time. Zora Neale Hurston

5  Born in Notasulga, Alabama, on Jan. 7, 1891  At the age of three, she moved to the town of Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black community to be incorporated to the United States.  Attended Howard University & Barnard College (studied Anthropology)  Known for her research in American folklore as well as Haiti and the British Isles  Achieved fame & sparked controversy as a novelist, anthropologist, essayist, lecturer, & theatrical producer  TEWWG published during the Harlem Renaissance (1937). TEWWG is her most famous and widely- acclaimed novel.  Incorporates black folk life Author Biography

6  She suffered numerous setbacks throughout her life.  Hurston died in a convalescent home, penniless, and nameless on January 28,  She was buried in an unmarked grave until 1973, when writer Alice Walker discovered and inscribed her gravestone with “Zora Neale Hurston A Genius of the South Novelist, Folklorist, Anthropologist.” Biography Continued

7  “HR” - period from the end of WWI through the middle of the 1930s Depression  Talented African-American writers produce a sizable body of literature (poetry, fiction, drama, and essay)  “Two-ness” – divided awareness of one’s identity  Common themes – alienation, marginality, the use of folk material, the use of the blues tradition, the problems of writing for an elite audience  Racial consciousness; “back to Africa” movement (Marcus Garvey), racial integration; explosion of jazz, spirituals, and blues; painting; dramatic revues; etc. Harlem Renaissance

8  Culture (everything that humans do that isn’t motivated by natural instinct)  Tradition ( cultural behavior that exhibits continuity in time)  Narrative (stories—differing cultures have a differing “sense of story”)  Orality (anything that is spoken, changed, recited, sung, or read aloud)  Performance  Etiology (any explanation for the origin of something)  Folklore (cultural behaviors or traditions) Local Color

9 Setting  Eatonville, Florida: 1930s *The story is fictional, but Eatonville (a town created and governed by African Americans) is real.  West Florida, Jacksonville, The Everglades, West Palm Beach

10  Hurston spent most of her life in the town of Eatonville, Florida.  Eatonville is located in Orange County, Florida, six miles north of Orlando.  Eatonville has an intriguing and inspired history.  Shortly after the Civil War, newly freed slaves moved to central Florida in search of work.  Because of the large influx of blacks, white landowners and voters soon found themselves outnumbered.  In order to attempt a better balance of voters, the proposal was made to offer blacks the opportunity to purchase land and establish their own community. Eatonville

11  Hurston recognized the value of folklore, religion, and music to the African-American culture, and sought to interweave its richness and history within her novels, short stories, plays, and collections.  One of the most important aspects of African- American cultures around the world.  Oral tradition-the verbal communication of stories of history, family values, and morals, passed from generation to generation.  Folktales are a part of this oral tradition, and exist in many cultures around the world. African-American Oral Traditions

12  Folktales are carried from one place to another as groups of people migrate, and can change and adapt to new situations and settings as these groups of people adapt to their new surroundings and challenges.  Many African-American folktales traveled from Africa as slaves were brought to America.  Early African-American folktales provided a way of broadening a sense of community and unity, as well as an escape from the burdens of slavery and oppression. Folktales

13  Stories included heroes, magic, witches, biblical characters, and more, were used as a platform for teaching lessons, cultural values, and the importance of family togetherness.  “Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby” and “Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch” are two of the most famous African-American folktales. Folktales continued…

14  Spiritual- slave song  Slaves were not allowed to speak any language other than English, nor were they allowed to read or write, slaves often communicated through song.  Songs were used to educate, enlighten, and reflect upon the past, present, and future hopes of slaves.  Slaves would sing songs expressing love, hope, sorrow, loss, and of their exile from their homeland.  Slaves would also use songs to communicate information. Spirituals

15  Janie Crawford  Nanny  Logan Killicks  Joe Starks  Tea Cake  Pheoby Watson  Mrs. Washburn  Mr. Turner  Mrs. Turner  Hezekiah  Motor Boat Characters

16  Personification (death)-figure of speech in which an object, animal, or idea is given human characteristics  Frame narration-A story within a story, within sometimes yet another story  Symbols-a person, place, or object that has concrete meaning in itself and also stands for something beyond itself, such as an idea or feeling  Metaphor (mules/black women)-a figure of speech that compares two things that have something in common.  Irony-a contrast between appearance and reality. Literary Elements

17  Characterization-techniques a writer uses to develop characters.  Legend-a story passed down orally from one generation to generation and popularly believed to have a historical basis.  Dialect-the distinct form of a language as it is spoken in one geographical area or by a particular social or ethnic group.  Conflict-a struggle between opposing forces that is the basis for a story’s plot.  Character motivation-stated or implied reason behind a character’s behavior. Literary Elements …

18  Janie’s hair  Pear tree  The horizon  The hurricane  Head rags worn by Janie / removal of hair rags Symbols

19  Language  Power  Love  Independence  Community  Race & Racism  History  Religion / Spirituality Themes


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