Today we are going to talk about September’s book of the month, Their Eyes Are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. But first, let’s check out this book and see what it is all about.
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 dreams, 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.
Questions to think about and/or answer:
1. What kind of God are the eyes of Hurston’s characters watching? What is the nature of that God and of their watching? Do any of them question God?
2. What is the importance of the concept of horizon? How do Janie and each of her men widen her horizons? What is the significance of the novel’s final sentences in this regard?
3. In what ways does Janie conform to or diverge from the assumptions that underlie the men’s attitudes toward women? How would you explain Hurston’s depiction of violence toward women? Does the novel substantiate Janie’s statement that “Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business”?
4. What is the importance in the novel of the “signifyin'” and “playin’ de dozens” on the front porch of Joe’s store and elsewhere? What purpose do these stories, traded insults, exaggerations, and boasts have in the lives of these people? How does Janie counter them with her conjuring?
(Questions from Litlovers)
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith
“”Their Eyes” belongs in the same category — with that of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway — of enduring American literature.”– “Saturday Review”” . . . thanks to this audiobook, Zora’s characters speak to us – through the wonderful voice of Ruby Dee.”-“The Heard Word”Dee is marvelous in all roles in this stage-worthy performance.”-“AudioFile
Mocha Girls Speak
Mocha Girl Maya
CLASSIC! It was great to read this book for a second time. The first time I read it I was in high school and did not understand it. Zora Neal Hurston did a great job telling the story of Janie and the men in her life. The dialect was not always clear, but I can understand why the author wrote it that way because of the time period. Great piece of history and glad I took the time to read it again.
Mocha Girl Jo’ie (Goodreads Organizer)
I re-read this one and don’t remember it as fondly as the first time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been loved and have loved this time around but it’s still such a powerful story.
Mocha Girl Sarahn
Mocha Girl Ruth
Mocha Girl Stacey
- Paperback: 219 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; 1 edition (May 30, 2006)
- Language: English
Other Books by this Author
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