Presentation on theme: "1 Their Eyes Were Watching God: Summary and Overview of Zora Neale Hurston’s Novel Presentation by Charry Ann Shouf March 28, 2002."— Presentation transcript:
1 Their Eyes Were Watching God: Summary and Overview of Zora Neale Hurston’s Novel Presentation by Charry Ann Shouf March 28, 2002
2 Background Information on Author Zora Neale HurstonZora Neale Hurston was born in Eatonville, Florida in 1891. She lived in an all African-American community for her childhood years. She wrote several novels and short stories. Her life’s motto was “Jump at the sun!” given to her by her mother. Her writing helped shape future female African-American writers’ approach to authorship and development of identity. She was a writer, anthropologist and political activist.
3 Harlem Renaissance Lasted from 1919-1937. Goals of the Harlem Renaissance:Harlem Renaissance To respond to the social conditions of African- Americans; To break with the 19 th century minstrel stereotypes of African-Americans; To place greater emphasis on black folk culture; To provide political and social uplift for African- Americans through social programs such as the NAACP.
4 Zora Neale Hurston’s Influence on the Harlem Renaissance Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered the last text of the Harlem Renaissance. Her portrayal of an African- American female able to define herself outside of social conventions and stereotypes has provided a model for modern African Americans seeking their identities in unconventional roles.
5 Feminist Issues in Their Eyes Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered the first modern feminist text by an African-American. Their Eyes Are Watching God describes Janie’s search to find her identity and voice apart from her three husbands. Janie leaves her first husband in search of a more fulfilling relationships. Janie finds her voice through her femininity and through her community. Janie chooses to work outside the home to find purpose outside of domestic life.
6 Regional Dialect as a Form of Realism Hurston employed regional black dialect in her writing. Hurston chose to do this because she wanted to portray African-Americans as they appeared in some southern areas of the United States. Realism includes dialect, local color and familial settings.
7 Parallels From Their Eyes to Hurston’s Life Janie married several times, as did Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston was often poor financially like Janie. Hurston and Janie each search for identity as black women. Hurston had an affair with a young man, as with Janie’s affair with Tea Cake in the novel.
8 Hurston’s Views of the South Zora Neale Hurston believed that authentic black culture can only be found in the south. Hurston opposed the integrationist measures implemented in the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, seeing integration as a way for cultural values to become tainted. Hurston became a spokeswoman for the first integrated all-black community, Eatonville, Florida.
9 Hurston’s Relationship With Langston Hughes Both authors shared the same financial patron: Charlotte Mason. Hurston and Hughes collaborated to write Mule Bone, an African-American play. They also worked together to publish the first issue of Fire, a magazine in which several up-and-coming black authors were able to publish their early works.
10 Black Arts Movement Their Eyes Were Watching God marked the end of the Harlem Renaissance. After this period (post 1937), the Black Arts Movement began, in which African Americans continued to seek a new black aesthetic that captured the emotions, desires and unique talents of blacks in America as they face prejudice.