Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston December 17, 2014
2 Background Information on Author Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston was born in Alabama 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 Hurston s Views of the South Zora Neale Hurston believed that authentic black culture can only be found in the south. Hurston became a spokeswoman for the first integrated all-black community, Eatonville, Florida. Rich in its culture and tradition, Hurston made the town of Eatonville the setting for much of Their Eyes Were Watching God.
4 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.
5 Zora Neale Hurston s Influence on the Harlem Renaissance Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) 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.
6 Feminist Issues in Their Eyes Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered the first modern feminist text by an African-American. Their Eyes Were 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.
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 Negotiating Identity What makes you YOU?Social Identity Wheel What role does society play in negotiating identity? What privileges do you have based on your identity? What limitations do you face based on your identity?
9 Exploring Hurstons Style Hurston specifically relies on the following techniques within her writing: Focus on the oral tradition Use of dialect and local colorincluding rhythm and word choice Oral features or heard speech Colorful figurative languagein particular metaphors, imagery, and personification Biblical images and references
10 Hurstons Use of Dialect Dialect: nouna particular form of a language that is specific to a particular region or social group. AAVE (African-American Vernacular English)a variety of American English. Creole Origins Issue vs. Divergence Issue (white southern English) Societal connotation (nonstandard English) Distinguishing traits include: Specific pronunciations and definable patterns Distinctive vocabulary Distinctive use of verb tenses The use of double negatives