Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Author: Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
Publisher: HarperPerennial Modern Classics: 2006
Original Publication: 1937
From Cover: One of the most important works of twentieth-century American literature, Zora Neale Hurston's beloved 1937 classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is an enduring Southern love story sparkling with wit, beauty, and heartfelt wisdom. Told in the captivating voice of a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness, fear or foolish romantic reams, it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose. A true literary wonder, Hurston's masterwork remains as relevant and affecting today as when it was first published - perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this novel. It really captured the spirit of the character Janie Crawford and her courageous approach to life. The story is told in third person using local dialect for the dialog. The voice of the narrator comes through so strong and clearly - it sets the tone for the entire tale. The setting was intriguing and vividly painted. The story was framed with Janie's return home and flashed back to tell the story of her life. She starts out letting other people make her choices for her but soon learns that this has landed her in a place where her soul is not allowed room to breath.
I did find it a little slow going at times, but I am still glad that I read it. Their Eyes Were Watching God really gives the reader insight into the complexities , trials and joys of a unique individual's existence. Janie is an inspirational character because she took a great risk in order to truly engage with life. She was not selfish in her desire for happiness and she had her fair share of hardships and tragedy. Such a full range of emotions were present in this book. This novel highlighted the dreary realities of life as well as the magic and simplicity to be found if one is willing to grasp the opportunities that come along.
"There are years that ask questions and years that answer them." (p.21)
"... ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery... It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again." (p.10)
"Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches." (p. 8)
11 hours ago