Zora Neale Hurston's quest for happiness outside the realm of financial success in "Their Eyes Were Watching God"Happiness

Essay by lxjluxlCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2005

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Zora Neale Hurston writes beyond her time by making Their Eyes were Watching God a book that celebrates black culture and pride. While her contemporaries were pumping out books that read like Martin Luther King Jr. speech transcripts, Hurston wrote about her heritage and her people in a way that spoke volumes about how black cultures unique. This style of writing transcended the precedent set by other writers of her time. Hurston develops character relationships to provide insight to her readers, both white and black, about how black people had strong community bonds and unique aspirations to be happy, but not necessarily financially successful.

Hurston showed how the characters interacted with each other, especially black to black relationships, in ways that the majority white men had never seen before or had little exposure to. "Listen, Sam, if it was nature, nobody wouldn't have tuh look out for babies touchin' stoves, would they? 'Cause dey just naturally wouldn't touch it.

But dey sho will. So it's caution." "Naw it ain't, it's nature, cause nature makes caution. It's de strongest thing dat God ever made, now. Fact is it's de onliest thing God every made. He made nature and nature made everything else." ( ) Here, we see Sam and Lige debating about the relationship between man and God. It's more interesting to see the human relationship between the two friends. They are relaxed, sitting on the shop porch, discussing the meaning of life casually. This scene is a statement that attests to black men's ability to be philosophical, a trait predominantly seen in white males.

From Hurston's depicting Janie in the town of Eatonville as the mayor's wife, we see a black girl in a traditionally white position. It's interesting to see Janie as the wife of a political leader, but...



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