Their Eyes Were Watching God Research Paper


Eyes Were Watching God Research Paper

Zora Neale Hurston\'s "Their Eyes Were Watching

God" Research Paper "I am Me, My Eyes Toward God" Mark Evans Zora Neale

Hurston an early twentieth century Afro-American feminist author, was raised
in a predominately black community which gave her an unique perspective
on race relations, evident in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Hurston drew on her on experiences as a feminist Afro-American female to
create a story about the magical transformation of Janie, from a young
unconfident girl to a thriving woman. Janie experiences many things that
make her a compelling character who takes readers along as her companion,
on her voyage to discover the mysteries and rewards life has to offer.

Zora Neale Hurston was, the daughter of a Baptist minister and an educated
scholar who still believed in the genius contained within the common southern
black vernacular(Hook She
was a woman who found her place, though unstable, in a typical male profession.

Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Eatonville, Florida, the first all-incorporated
black town in America. She found a special thing in this town, where she
said, "... [I] grew like a like a gourd and yelled bass like a gator,"
(Gale, 1). When Hurston was thirteen she was removed from school and sent
to care for her brother\'s children. She became a member of a traveling
theater at the age of sixteen, and then found herself working as a maid
for a white woman. This woman saw a spark that was waiting for fuel, so
she arranged for Hurston to attend high school in Baltimore. She also attended

Morgan Academy, now called Morgan State University, from which she graduated
in June of 1918. She then enrolled in the Howard Prep School followed by
later enrollment in Howard University. In 1928 Hurston attended Barnard

College where she studied anthropology under Franz Boas. After she graduated,

Zora returned to Eatonville to begin work on anthropology. Four years after

Hurston received her B.A. from Barnard she enrolled in Columbia University
to begin graduate work (Discovering Authors, 2-4). Hurston\'s life seemed
to be going well but she was soon to see the other side of reality.

Hurston never stayed at a job for too long,
constantly refusing the advances of male employers, which showed part of
her strong feminist disposition. But Hurston was still seeking true love
throughout her travels and education. At Howard University, Hurston met

Herburt Sheen whom she married on May 19, 1927 in St. Augstine, Florida
(DA, 2). They divorced shortly after they got married because they could
not continue the idealistic dreams they had shared in their youth. Zora

Hurston\'s second marriage to Albert Price III was also short lived. They
were married in 1939 and divorced in 1943 (DA, 2). By the mid-1940s Hurston\'s
writing career had began to falter. While living in New York, Hurston was
arrested and charged with committing an immoral act with a ten-year-old
boy. The charges were later dropped when Hurston proved that she was in
another country at the time the incident allegedly took place (Discovering

Authors, 3). Hurston already was witnessing the rejection of all of her
works submitted to her publisher, but the combined effects of the arrest
and the ensuing journalistic attack on her image doomed the majority of
her literary career. She wrote to a friend: "I care nothing for writing
anything any more... My race has seen fit to destroy me without reason,
and with the vilest tools conceived by man so far" (Discovering Authors,

4). In approximately 1950 Hurston returned to Florida, where she worked
as a cleaning woman in Rivo Alto. She later moved to Belle Glade, Florida,
in hopes of reviving her writing career. She failed and worked as many
jobs including: newspaper journalist, librarian, and substitute teacher
(Baker, pages.html/chronology.htm). Hurston suffered
a stroke in 1959 which demanded her admittance in the Saint Lucie County

Florida Welfare Home. She died a broken, penniless, invalid in January

1960 (DA, 5).

All of Hurston\'s trials built the basis
for her best work. Therefore, the work that has denoted her as one of the
twentieth century\'s most influential authors did not come until after she
had graduated from college. However, the literature she composed in college
was by no means inferior. She was a defiant free-spirit even during her
early college career. While working on an anthropological study for her
mentor, Franz Boas, she was exposed to voo doo, which she quickly embraced.

She was deeply interested in the subtle nuances that voo doo had left scattered
throughout Afro-American culture. She also adopted this