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Their Eyes Were Watching God - DOC

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									                               Their Eyes Were Watching God
                                         Themes and Methodology

Frame Device
        -      Janie “frames” her story as a flashback of sorts: “This is what happened…”
        -      value of such: storytelling angle: intimate and personal
Voice
        -      Three voices to consider – that of the:
               o   Author
                            See biographic handout
                            A voice for African-american women, who had none at this point in history, ignored
                             by the predominately white mainstream literature and critics
               o   Literary
                            Three literary voices:
                                   Author’s: standard English
                                   Characters’: southern dialect
                                   Free indirect discourse – as the author’s standard voice lapses into that of the
                                    characters – see handout
               o   Janie’s
                            Personal, real – a connection to the reader, intimacy
Figurative Language
        -   metaphor, language of nature tied to human nature
        -   realism vs. fantasy – know when one spins into the other


Hero’s Journey, coming-of-age elements


Gender roles and expectations linked to thereof
        -   self-defining, transcending expected boundaries
        -   resistance
        -   mistakes made (twice, actually: once a mule and once a bauble)
Things to think about while reading:

        -   Are Hurston's portrayals of these "unrefined" and uneducated folk a celebration or a mockery?

        -   Is Hurston's consistent use of southern black dialect far removed from white minstrelsy and its
            presentation of blacks as unintelligent and blundering?

        -   Does Hurston glorify white people, particularly her white patrons, by catering to their racist notions
            of how and what fiction about blacks should be written?

        -   Does Hurston oversimplify the oppressions of blacks and women in a racist, sexist, and capitalist
            American society?
                                              Free Indirect Discourse

Before a fiction writer can write, the writer must develop a narrative voice. Finding a voice is not easy, especially
for African-American women who have traditionally been denied literary self-expression. Mary Daly writes about
the seemingly insurmountable problems that afflict women of color. She quotes Alice Walker who poses the
following question: “How was the creativity of the Black woman kept alive, year after year and century after
century, when for most of the years Black people have been in America, it was a punishable crime for a Black person
to read or write?” (Pure Lust 174). By refusing to repudiate her folk origins and by insisting on a natural unpretentious
style, Zora Neale Hurston conjures a narrative voice which is her own. Although the poetic images she conjures
are powerful, her genius is most evident in the style of writing which she created. The style that Hurston brings to
African-American literature uses the narrative mode of free indirect discourse which is defined by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
in his introduction to The Signifying Monkey:

        Free indirect discourse is represented in this canonical text [Their Eyes Were Watching God] as if it were a
        dynamic character, with shifts in its level of diction drawn upon to reflect a certain development of self-
                                                                              -


        consciousness in a hybrid character, a character who is neither the novel‟s protagonist nor the text‟s
        disembodied narrator, but a blend of both, an emergent and merging moment of consciousness. (xxvi)

Hurston creates a narrative voice not only to be able to express herself as an artist but to give a literary voice to
the people of her black community. In her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, Hurston writes about her mother‘s
death and her mother‘s unspoken plea for her daughter to speak for her:

        Papa was standing at the foot of the bed and turned it around so that Mama‟s eyes would face the
        east. I thought that she looked to me as the head of the bed was reversed. Her mouth was slightly
        open, but her breathing took up so much of her strength that she could not talk. But she looked at me,
        or so I felt, to speak for her. She depended on me for a voice (86-7).    .




In her free indirect discourse, Hurston supplies her characters with words to enable them to articulate their thoughts.
Hurston employs two other modes of narration along with free indirect discourse; they are direct discourse and indirect
discourse. In order to explain free indirect discourse, I will first give examples of direct discourse and indirect discourse.
Then to illustrate the special qualities of Hurston‘s free indirect discourse, I will give an example. Simply put, direct
discourse is written in black vernacular, indirect discourse is in standard English, and free indirect discourse
is the integration of both. Yet, it is so much more, as Gates suggests:

        The narrative voice Hurston created, and her legacy to Afro-American fiction, is a lyrical and
        disembodied yet individual voice, from which emerges a singular longing and utterance, a
        transcendent, ultimately racial self, extending far beyond the merely individual. For Hurston, the
                                                                                           ...


        search for a telling form of language, indeed the search for a black literary language itself, defines
        the search for the self. (The Signifying Monkey 183)

After her husband Joe Starks has provided the town with a general store and a street lamp and has become mayor of
Eatonville, Janie realizes that the townspeople envy her. In the following episode, Hurston manipulates the narrative
viewpoint by utilizing the three modes of narration mentioned above.

The evening after the ceremonial lighting of the town‘s first street light, Joe Starks and his wife Janie are in bed
together. When they speak to each other in black vernacular, they speak in direct discourse:
        “Well, honey, how yuh lak bein‟ Mrs. Mayor?”
        “It‟s all right Ah reckon, but don‟t yuh think it keeps us in a kinda strain?” (Their Eyes 43)

After their conversation ends, the narrator enters and speaks about Janie in indirect discourse: „A feeling of
coldness and fear took hold of her. She felt far away from things and lonely” (44).
Following a white space in the text, the narrator continues in indirect discourse: “Janie soon began to feel the
impact of awe and envy against her sensibilities” (44). But as one continues to read, the narrator‘s language makes a
subtle shift as Hurston begins her free indirect discourse. In the following excerpt, the narrator shows how the
townspeople feel about the fancy spittoon that Joe Starks bought for his wife:

        He bought a little lady-size spitting pot for Janie to spit in. Had it right in the parlor with little sprigs
        of flowers painted all around the sides. It sort of made the rest of them feel that they had been
                                                  ...


        taken advantage of. Like things had been kept from them. Maybe more things in the world besides
        spitting pots had been hid from them, when they wasn‟t told no better than to spit in tomato cans. It
        was bad enough for white people, but when one of your own color could be so different it put you on
        a wonder. It was like seeing your sister turn into a „gator. A familiar strangeness. You keep seeing
        your sister in the „gator and the „gator in your sister, and you‟d rather not. There was no doubt that
        the town respected him and even admired him in a way. But any man who walks in the way of power
        and property is bound to meet hate. (45)

The free indirect discourse, while not written in the rural black dialect of central Florida, is not nearly as restrained nor
as lacking in images as the language of the indirect discourse. Although the protagonist Janie and the narrator achieve
an authentic voice in the powerful images conjured in the free indirect discourse, this unique mode of narration was
problematic for many readers. The juxtaposition of language styles as evident in the excerpt of free indirect discourse
given above proved irksome for many of the earlier critics. It proved difficult to accept a sentence such as “Maybe more
things in the world besides spitting pots had been hid from them, when they wasn‟t told no better than to spit in tomato
cans” in the same paragraph with a sentence such as “But any man who walks in the way of power and property is
bound to meet hate.” Robert Hemenway, in his literary biography, Zora Neale Hurston, points out this problem:

        As a dedicated Harlem Renaissance artist, Zora Hurston, searched hard for a way to transfer the
        life of the people, the folk ethos, into the accepted modes of formalized fiction. She knew the
        folkloric context better than any of her contemporaries, and this led to a personal style that many
        did not understand. (56)

In her essay ―Characteristics of Negro Expression‖ Hurston writes about the dichotomy of language she resolves in free
indirect discourse. She writes:

        His [The African-American‟s] words are action words. His interpretation of the English language is in
        terms of pictures. One act described in terms of another. Hence the rich metaphor and simile…so we
        can say the white man thinks in a written language and the Negro thinks in hieroglyphics. (49-50)


Because of her special genius, Hurston was able to do both to think in a written language and to think in hieroglyphics,
                                                                -


to blend standard English with black vernacular in free indirect discourse.
          Their Eyes Were Watching God Glossary
                             Chapter One                                  a mink skin . . . a coon hide: one thing looks pretty much like
                                                                          something else until both can be studied carefully. No one can
porch sitters: hard-working farmers and laborers; men and women           understand what Janie‘s life was like with Tea Cake or with Joe until
who work for someone else—a white boss. Only in the evening do            each is examined carefully.
they gain control of their time. Janie‘s late husband, Joe Starks,
seems to be the only man in Eatonville who didn‘t work for someone        Monstropolous: hyperbole invented by Hurston; perhaps an
else.                                                                     extension of monstrous.
dat ole forty year ole ‟oman: a reference to Janie; the remark, by a                                    Chapter Two
woman, about a woman, is made out of spite and envy. Although
Janie is 40 years old, she is still an attractive woman, much to the      never hit us a lick amiss    never beat or spanked the children when
annoyance of the women.                                                   they didn‘t deserve it.

bander log: possibly a long log that people sat on while they             palma christi leaves the leaves of a gigantic herb plant called
bantered, joked, and gossiped.                                            palma christi in Spanish-speaking countries; its leaves are believed to
                                                                          reduce severe headaches.
fall to their level: The women hope that Janie will someday,
somehow, stop having an aura about her. Her charisma reinforces           bore the burden in the heat of the day The biblical reference is to
their envy and is proof that they do not think well of themselves.        Matthew 20:12: ―These latecomers did only one hour‘s work, yet you
                                                                          have treated them on a level with us, who have sweated the whole
to study about: Mrs. Sumpkins‘ phrase that means she isn‘t                day long in the blazing sun.‖
―thinking about‖ Janie; ironically, from her remarks, she has
evidently spent much time doing just that.                                school out . . . high bush and sweeter berry take more time to
                                                                          look around and think about what you want to do. Picking a good
She sits high, but she looks low: Lulu Moss suggests that while           husband is compared to knowing what part of a berry bush has the
Janie carries herself in a high-mannered way, her social standing has     sweetest fruit.
come down considerably after her relationship with Tea Cake.
                                                                          angel with the sword a metaphor for death; the biblical reference
booger man: the mythical monster who is often called the                  comes from Numbers 22:23: ―. . . the angel standing in the door with
―boogeyman‖; a frightening imaginary being, often used as a threat in     his sword drawn. . . .‖
disciplining children.
                                                                          got in quotation wid people Sherman‘s march had ended, the
mulatto rice: a concoction of cooked rice, chopped and browned            slaves had been freed, and the Union had set up a system to help the
onions, crisp bacon bits, and some chopped tomatoes.                      freedmen. It was only by talking around, though, that Nanny found
                                                                          out what was going on.
lamps and chimneys: the reference is to kerosene lamps.
Apparently, Janie, a good housekeeper, either left the lamps clean                                     Chapter Three
when she went away or took time to clean at least one of them as
soon as she returned. Kerosene lamps and their chimneys must be           beaten biscuits Southern cooks have long prided themselves on
clean in order to function properly.                                      their beaten biscuits, pounding the dough for 20 or 30 minutes with a
                                                                          mallet or hammer, beating air into it until it is light.
stove wood: Although Janie has the most pretentious house in
town, it does not have gas or electricity; she must cook on a wood-       kissin‟ yo‟ foot   acting more like a servant than a husband and an
burning stove.                                                            equal.

Mouth-Almighty:       someone who talks too much.                         buy and sell such as them Nanny is concerned about both the
                                                                          protection and economic security that Logan can offer Janie.
An envious heart makes the treacherous ear: Pheoby
characterizes the gossipy women with this biblical-sounding adage.
a lost ball in de high grass: The townspeople love baseball; not                                       Chapter Four
only do they like to watch it, but they also like to play it. The field   freezolity   indifference, or a lack of interest.
where they play has tall, uncut grass, and fly balls are often lost and
the game delayed while both teams search for the ball.                    sleeveholders fancy elastic bands similar to women‘s garters, worn
                                                                          on the upper arm of a shirt sleeve to be sure that the cuff falls exactly
They don‟t know if life is a mess of corn-meal dumplings and if           where the wearer wants it.
love is a bed quilt: The experiences of the townspeople are so
limited that they can‘t make any valid observations on life and love.     in and through Georgy       living in and passing through the state of
                                                                          Georgia.
come kiss and be kissed: come and talk to me, Janie is saying; it‘s
implied that the townspeople should do more of this in their lives.       sugar-tit cloth tied around a bit of sugar to form a nipple-like
                                                                          pacifier for a baby.
The ‟ssociation of life . . . De Grand Lodge, de big convention of
livin‟: Janie refers here to the common experience of belonging to        ribbon-cane syrup         sorghum molasses.
fraternal or church organizations and going to their conventions and      fall down and wash up       fall down and worship.
meetings. Janie wants Pheoby to understand that her experiences in
the past eighteen months were as exciting as attending a convention.      yo‟ royal diasticutis   a sarcastic reference to Janie‘s buttocks.
hard of understandin‟: Pheoby will want a detailed explanation to
be sure that she understands all that Janie says.
                             Chapter Five                                  Folks up dat way don‟t eat biscuit bread but once a
                                                                           week Biscuits must be made of white wheat flour, something better
sitting on their shoulder blades    a position that‘s closer to lying      than cornmeal. Cornmeal is the staple of the poor, used in corn bread,
down that sitting.                                                         corn pone, hush puppies, cornmeal mush, and a host of other
a huge live oak tree   an evergreen oak.                                   stomach-filling items. Biscuits are special and an indication of some
                                                                           prosperity.
uh mite too previous In this particular colloquialism, ―previous‖
means ―a little too early.‖                                                side-meat Matt bought side meat by the slice. Side meat is meat
                                                                           from the side of a pig, specifically bacon or salt pork. In Joe‘s store,
Middle Georgy      the middle of the state of Georgia.                     it would be sold by the slab to be sliced at home by the purchaser or
Ah‟m uh son of Combunction a polite way of swearing; similar to            sliced and weighed in the store. This is another indication of Matt‘s
―Well, I‘ll be a son of a gun. . . .‖                                      poverty or ignorance—or both.

All de women in de world ain‟t . . . teppentine still and saw mill         black gaiters ankle-high shoes with elastic gores at the sides. For
camp free and easy women, women from the lowest level of                   Joe, they would be a classy sort of houseslipper.
laborers. Turpentine stills and saw mills were usually located in the      crazy as a betsy bug a variation of ―crazy as a bed bug,‖ an insect
woods, removed from town and close to the trees essential for their        of a family (Cimicidae) of wingless, bloodsucking hemipteran
products.                                                                  insects, especially the species (Cimex lectularius) with a broad, flat
Isaac and Rebecca at de well This biblical reference is not literally      reddish-brown body and an unpleasant odor that infests beds,
accurate. Isaac never met Rebecca at the well. Isaac‘s father‘s servant    furniture, walls, and so on, is active mainly at night, and may transmit
encountered Rebecca at the well. The servant had prayed for divine         a variety of diseases.
guidance in finding a wife for Isaac—that after his long journey to        you didn‟t have gumption       ―Gumption‖ is shrewdness in practical
the land of Aramnaharaim, a generous and humble woman would                matters; common sense.
approach him at the community well and offer him a drink of fresh
water from her jug, as well as to offer to draw sufficient water for his   Drag him out to the edge of the hammock a precarious place to
camels. Rebecca did so and agreed to leave her village and travel to       be because a hammock tips very easily when the occupant gets too
the land of Canaan to become Isaac‘s wife.                                 close to the edge.

All them dat‟s goin‟ tuh cut de monkey       in other words, if            No Matt Bonner with plow lines Plow lines control an animal.
everyone has finished acting silly.                                        Now that the mule is dead, he will no longer be hitched to the plow.

bell-cow   the leader of the herd; here, the most important women in       Ah knowed you would going tuh crawl up dat holler In other
town.                                                                      words, I knew that you were going to take that path in the discussion.
                                                                           Sam will ―smoke out‖ Lige in his rebuttal. The two men engage in
Protolapsis uh de cutinary linin‟ The reference is to something            regular and predictable arguments. Each one knows pretty well what
that upsets the stomach and makes a person nervous. Hurston is             the other one will say, but all of this is part of the entertainment on
pointing out the men‘s fondness for impressive words, whether they         the porch of the store.
have real meaning or not.
                                                                           uh butt-headed cow       a stubborn animal that won‘t do what its
the street lamp Before electric lights were common, cities and             owner wants it to do.
towns lighted their streets with gas lamps. The lamplighter would go
around at dusk with a small four- or five-step ladder which he would       dat great big ole scoundrel beast up dere The speaker is referring
climb to open the globe of the lamp and light the wick.                    to a picture of an enormous dinosaur on a billboard advertising the
                                                                           Sinclair Oil Company. A dinosaur was the logo of Sinclair and was
                                                                           prominently displayed at their filling stations. In all likelihood, the
                             Chapter Six                                   men do not know it is a dinosaur.

. . . and yo‟ feet ain‟t mates In the first part of Matt‘s response, he    Daisy is walking a drum tune The drum is the key percussion
does something that frequently occurs in folk speech: He equates the       instrument in a musical group. It sets the tempo. Daisy is walking
man Sam with a lie. ―You‘se a lie, Sam,‖ he says, adding ―Yo‘ feet         with the stylish snap of a precision solo drummer—and she knows it!
ain‘t mates,‖ meaning that Sam is not put together right and hence         a “studied jury” Educational resources were limited for this
can‘t be believed.                                                         community, and there were very few men with college degrees in law
Feeds ‟im offa „come up‟ and seasons it wid raw-hide This is a             or medicine—or even the ministry. In Mules and Men, Hurston has a
way of saying that the animal is not well fed. ―Come up‖ would be a        character say, ―You see when Ah was studyin‘ doctor . . .‖ Whereas a
promise—someone is waiting for something to come up, a job, for            man or woman might get a ―call‖ to the ministry, the path to informal
example. Rawhide is untanned cattle skin, certainly not very               law or medicine was self-study or perhaps apprenticeship with a
palatable for man or beast. Rawhide is also a material used for whips.     practitioner.

rub board The old-fashioned galvanized or glass washing board              Sam Watson, you‟se mah fish a good catch—not an empty hook
was in common use before washing machines became economically              for the fisherman or woman. Joe plans to beat Sam at checkers—that
available.                                                                 is catch him like a fish on his hook.

before de ornery varmit could tack a sailing and boating term,
consistent with the strong wind that was blowing during this episode.                                   Chapter Seven
To a sailor, ―tack‖ means to turn the bow to the wind. The mule
wasn‘t fast enough to turn and run into the wind in pursuit of the         Then too she considered thirty-five is twice seventeen Janie has
children.                                                                  grown older and is more experienced than when Nanny married her
                                                                           off to Logan Killicks. She realizes how much of her life has passed.
Say you started tuh Miccanopy but de mule . . . Miccanopy is a             Accurate addition isn‘t important, the passage of time is.
small community northwest of Eatonville. The man didn‘t really
know where he was going.                                                   Y‟all really playin‟ de dozens tuhnight trading insults, usually in
                                                                           a predictable way, but the insults are based on exaggeration of
personal traits and involve derogatory statements about members of                                          Chapter Ten
each other‘s family—often, someone‘s mother.
                                                                             kitchen matches These were a type of common household matches
The thing that Saul‟s daughter had done to David In I Samuel                 made for years by, among others, the Ohio Match Company. They
18–19, Saul has two daughters, Merab and Michal. Saul gave Michal            were about two-and-a-half to three inches long and were sold in a
to David, and she saved his life. Saul was immensely jealous of              box, the side of which contained a strip of abrasive-like fine
David because of his youth, beauty, intelligence, and potential power.       sandpaper. The abrasive contained the chemicals needed to ignite the
Saul wanted to kill him, but Michal foiled the plot.                         match when it was briskly scraped across the surface. Before electric
                                                                             stoves and gas stoves with the automatic pilot lights, no kitchen was
                                                                             complete without a box of these matches. Many campers still include
                              Chapter Eight                                  them in their equipment.

Well, if she must eat out of a long-handled spoon, she must A                cold-cocked her a look looked her straight in the eyes.
long-handled spoon has a long history in the English language.               Dixie Highway U.S. Highway 1, the major Maine-to-Florida
Chaucer uses it in The Squire‟s Tale: ―Therfore bihooeth hire ful            highway in the old U.S. highway system.
loong spoon/That shall ete with a feend.‖ It also occurs in
Shakespeare‘s Comedy of Errors: ―He must have a long spoon that              Ah done cut a hawg I‘ve made a mistake. Tea Cake thinks that
must eat with the devil." Joe has become almost evil in his illness,         perhaps he has said something he shouldn‘t have said.
and Janie must treat him with all caution—with a long-handled
spoon, something that she would use if she were to dine with the                                          Chapter Eleven
devil. References to a long-handled spoon are treated in most                You got me in de go long opening for a proposal of marriage.
standard books of quotations.                                                Janie has captivated Tea Cake, and he will ―go long‖ through life
                                                                             with her.
de big fuss in de store dat Joe was „fixed‟ and you wuz de one dat
did it Here again, the busybodies are at work, suggesting that Janie         run our conversation from grassroots to pine trees We‘ve gone
has put some sort of spell on Joe. Joe is terminally ill, and the people     as far as we can go with this conversation—from minor matters to
do not understand the illness. It is much easier for them to accuse          larger issues. Hurston has used other expressions like this to indicate
Janie of putting a voodoo spell on Joe to hasten his death than it is for    limits and extremes in conversations.
them to understand that Joe‘s condition is helpless.
                                                                             De big Sunday School picnic The Sunday School picnic that took
Ah been feelin‟ dat somethin‟ set for still-bait In other words, she         place on a spring or summer day was often the biggest social event in
is saying that she‘s feeling like she‘s the target of the community          a small community like Eatonville.
disapproval, like a bait on a hook that can‘t move or wriggle as a
worm might do.
Last summer dat multiplied cock-roach wuz round heah tryin‟                                               Chapter Twelve
tuh sell gophers Janie and Pheoby have no time for the charlatan,            sense her into things Sam Watson wants Pheoby to talk some
the ―two-headed‖ doctor, the scheming, self-serving quack. Note the          common sense into Janie.
hyperbole ―multiplied cock-roach.‖ Note also that ―gopher‖ could be
a mispronunciation of ―goopher,‖ a well-known conjure mixture. It is         class off    act better than other people, show off.
usually an herb-root mixture alleged to have great power to do
                                                                             He ain‟t got uh dime tuh cry The townspeople are sure that Tea
whatever the two-headed doctor said it would do.
                                                                             Cake has no money. Janie, however, knows he works and always
He‟d be all right just as soon as the two-headed man found what              pays their way.
had been buried against him Hurston discusses this phrase of
                                                                                                         Chapter Thirteen
conjure in Mules and Men. If indeed Janie has ―fixed‖ Joe, then the
conjure man has to find out what the ―fix‖ is and where it is buried.        two hundred dollars inside her shirt Janie is following some
His next task would be to concoct something that would counteract            basic wisdom shared by wise women: Always have enough money on
the ―fix.‖ All of this was done for a fee, of course, preferably paid in     hand for your fare home—no matter who your date is.
advance.
                                                                             twelve o‟clock whistle Jacksonville is a railroad town, and railroad
                              Chapter Nine                                   shops usually had loud whistles that sounded at regular times during
                                                                             the day.
gold and red and purple, the gloat and glamor of secret
orders Joe evidently belonged to several lodges or fraternal orders,         pink silk vest Janie‘s ―vest,‖ or undershirt, is made of silk.
and each one has a different ritual to be performed when a member            Chances are that most of the women in Eatonville wore cotton
dies. Hurston mentions the Elks (BPOE) band that plays at Joe‘s              underclothes.
funeral.
                                                                             round house a circular house building, with a turntable in the
celebration funerals and wakes often become festive affairs when             center, used for storing and repairing locomotives.
family and friends gather, not only for the burial but also for a
celebration of the life of the deceased.                                                                 Chapter Fourteen

set for still bait   a term for fishing, meaning that the bait is easy for   pickin‟ my box       playing my guitar.
the fish to grab.                                                            dyke . . . Indians Hurston has inserted two seemingly insignificant
like a pack of chessy cats The reference is to the Cheshire Cat in           details here which she will later use for dramatic effect when the
Alice in Wonderland, who had an all-knowing smile. Here, Janie is            hurricane strikes. Tea Cake and Janie live very close to the lake, and
saying that all of her gentlemen callers have smug, too-confident            they will see Indians leaving as the storm approaches—yet they
grins on their faces.                                                        choose to ignore the wisdom of these local people.
                                                                             jook bar
                                                                             flivver     a small, cheap automobile, especially an old one.
sit in the doorway Hurston does not even suggest that the migrants        Tryin‟ not to keep you outa yo‟ comfortable no longer‟n you
go into Janie‘s house.                                                    wanted to stay In other words, I don‘t want to keep you here in this
                                                                          uncomfortable place any longer than you want to stay. Earlier in the
black-eyed peas and rice This combination is known as ―Hoppin‘            novel, Tea Cake wanted to comb Janie‘s hair, and she referred to it as
John.‖ It is a staple with a long history in Southern cooking.            her ―comfortable,‖ not his. ―Comfortable‖ would be a unique
                           Chapter Fifteen                                personal possession.

snappish    cross or irritable, uncivil; sharp-tongued.                   Give it uh poor man‟s trial A poor man takes any respectable job
                                                                          he can get and does his best with it.
Don‟t keer how big uh lie get told, somebody kin b‟lieve it Tea
Cake believes that the size of a lie has nothing to do with whether       uh common trial similar to the definition above. Just to be
some people will believe it.                                              working, Tea Cake will take any job available.

                           Chapter Sixteen                                de Jim Crow law These are laws associated with traditional
                                                                          discrimination against or segregation of blacks, especially in the
Bahaman drummers Hurston worked with Bahaman musicians in                 United States.
one of her theatrical efforts, and she used some of their nicknames for
the characters in this novel.                                             trouble and compellment Tea Cake is troubled by the white
                                                                          guards forcing him—compelling him—to help bury the dead.
Saws    another name for Bahamans.
                                                                          motherless chile Tea Cake is out of his element. He feels as though
meriny skin    like browned-egg-white meringue; a complexion              he doesn‘t belong to anyone, like a child in slavery sold away from
color.                                                                    its mother. The song ―Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child‖ is
a vanishing-looking kind of man Mr. Turner‘s presence is so               often included in collections of spirituals.
insignificant that he seems about to vanish.                              Six months behind de United States privy house at hard
                          Chapter Seventeen                               smellin‟ The reference is to a privy, a toilet, especially an outhouse,
                                                                          which has a thoroughly obnoxious smell if it hasn‘t been properly
peart   lively, chipper, sprightly, smart, and so on.                     maintained. This is Tea Cake‘s metaphor for being tossed into a
                                                                          federal jail and put to hard work.
                          Chapter Eighteen
                                                                          bucked each other        beat and/or challenged each other.
laden   loaded; burdened or afflicted.
                                                                          quart of coon-dick       cheap moonshine or bootleg whiskey.
stolid having or showing little or no emotion or sensitivity;
unexcitable; impassive.                                                   lap-legged brother      a suggestion that Mrs. Turner‘s brother‘s
                                                                          legs are malformed and not straight—clearly, an insult.
money and insurance papers This is further evidence that Tea
Cake is a responsible man, even though he ignores the storm               watchin‟ de job    watching and waiting for Tea Cake to die.
warnings and will be stubborn about not seeing a doctor.
                                                                          relic Janie is the relic, or the person who has survived, from their
                                                                          marriage. The word could also be an echo of the Old English term
                                                                          relict, which means surviving the death of another.
                          Chapter Nineteen
              Journal Response – Their Eyes Were Watching God
Respond to one of the following prompts in detail while utilizing support properly.

1.    Discuss the importance of duality in the early chapters of the novel. How does duality tie in the
      other major themes of Eyes?

2.    Analyze the impact of diction on the major themes in the novel.

3.    Discuss the role of tradition in the novel, as well as its impact on the characters, major and
      minor, in Eyes.




           Group Journal Responses - Their Eyes Were Watching God
In your groups, formulate a response to the following points for class discussion.

Group 1:     Discuss the symbolism of the pear tree and its importance to the novel.

Group 2:     Janie is undergoing a journey of sorts in the novel. Discuss this concept in light of the
             heroic journey and the steps involved.

Group 3:     “Aw, aw! Ah’m colored!” (page 9). Discuss this quote and its importance to Janie’s
             search for identity in the novel.

Group 4:     Discuss the relationships and character dynamics found in Janie’s first two marriages.
             What do these men bring to (or take from) Janie’s life?

Group 5:     Search for metaphors and similes in the first seven chapters. Discuss the importance of
             these devices, as well as why Hurston uses this particular technique in these places.

Group 6:     Discuss the issue of voice in these chapters, particularly as pertains to Janie and
             Hurston herself.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Commentary #1


        Therefore Janie drank her coffee and sankled on back to her room without asking her landlady anything. Tea Cake
must be hunting all over the city for that fish. She kept that thought in front of her in order not to think too much. When
she heard the twelve o‘clock whistle she decided to get up and dress. That was when she found out her two hundred
dollars was gone. There was the little cloth purse with the safety pin on the chair beneath her clothes and the money just
wasn‘t nowhere in the room. She knew from the beginning that the money wasn‘t any place she knew of if it wasn‘t in
that little pocket book pinned to her pink silk vest. But the exercise of searching the room kept her busy and that was good
for her to keep moving, even though she wasn‘t doing anything but turning around in her tracks.
        But, don‘t care how firm your determination is, you can‘t keep turning around in one place like a horse grinding
sugar cane. So Janie took to sitting over the room. Sit and look. The room inside looked like the mouth of an alligator –
gaped wide open to swallow something down. Outside the window Jacksonville looked like it needed a fence around it to
keep it from running out on ether‘s bosom. It was too big to be warm, let alone to need somebody like her. All day and
night she worried time like a bone.
        Way late in the morning the thought of Annie Tyler and Who Flung came to pay her a visit. Annie Tyler who at
fifty-two had been left a widow with a good home and insurance money.
        Mrs. Tyler with her dyed hair, newly straightened and her uncomfortable false teeth, her leathery skin, blotchy
with powder and her giggle. Her love affairs, affairs with boys in their late teens or early twenties for all of whom she
spent her money on suits of clothes, shoes, watches and things like that and how they all left her as soon as their wants
were satisfied. Then when her ready cash was gone, had come Who Flung to denounce his predecessor as a scoundrel and
took up around the house himself. It was he who persuaded her to sell her house and come to Tampa with him. The town
had seen her limp off. The undersized high-heel slippers were punishing her tired feet that looked like bunions all over.
Her body squeezed and crowded into a tight corset that shoved her middle up under her chin. But she had gone off
laughing and sure. As sure as Janie had been.
        Then two weeks later the porter and conductor of the north bound local had helped her off the train at Maitland.
Hair all gray and black and bluish and reddish in streaks. All the capers that cheap dye could cut was showing in her hair.
Those slippers bent and griped just like her work-worn feet. The corset gone and the shaking old woman hanging all over
herself. Everything that you could see was hanging. Her chin hung from her ears and rippled down her neck like drapes.
Her hanging bosom and stomach and buttocks and legs that draped down over her ankles. She groaned but never giggled.




        Guiding Questions:       Speak to the diction in the passage.


                                 Bear in mind the earlier events and relationships experienced by Janie in this novel
                                 and speak to the characterization revealed by this passage.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Commentary #2


        So Joe Starks and his cigar took the center of the floor.

        ―Ah thanks you all for yo‘ kind welcome and for extendin‘ tuh me de right hand uh fellowship. Ah kin see dat dis
town in full uh union and love. Ah means tuh put mah hands tuh de plow heah, and strain every nerve tuh make dis our
town de metropolis uh de state. So maybe Ah better tell yuh in case you don‘t know dat if we expect tuh move on, us got
tuh incorporate lak every other town. Us got tuh incorporate, and us got tuh have uh mayor, if things is tuh be done and
done right. Ah welcome you on behalf uh me and mah wife tuh dis store and tuh de other things tuh come. Amen.‖

        Tony led the loud hand-clapping and was out in the center of the floor when it stopped.

        ―Brothers and sisters, since us can‘t never expect tuh better our choice, Ah move dat we make Brother Starks our
Mayor until we kin see further.‖

        ―Second dat motion!!!‖ It was everybody talking at once, so it was no need of putting it to a vote.

        ―And now we‘ll listen tuh uh few words uh encouragement from Mrs. Mayor Starks.‖

        The burst of applause was cut short by Joe taking the floor himself.

        ―Thank yuh fuh yo‘ compliments, but mah wife don‘t know nothin‘ ‗bout no speech-makin‘. Ah never married
her for nothin‘ lak dat. She‘s uh woman and her place is in de home.‖

        Janie made her face laugh after a short pause, but it wasn‘t too easy. She had never thought of making a speech,
and didn‘t know if she cared to make one at all. It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to
say anything one way or the other that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that
night feeling cold. He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her
thoughts.
                              PowerPoint Presentation
                                  Their Eyes Were Watching God
In small groups (3 or 4 people), create a PowerPoint presentation that addresses:

      how different clothing signifies Janie's stages in her quest for self and identity.
      how each house represents/reflects a different stage in Janie's search/quest for her identity.
      how the images of fertility correspond with Janie's inward growth and desire.
      how other characters’ perception of marriage affects and compares to Janie's perception of love,
       marriage, and self.
      how each husband shapes, changes, encourages, or stifles Janie as she searches for her voice/self.

Slide Layout:

      Be creative – illustrate your points with scanned photos and images, clip art, music, video, etc.
          o Use your transitions and slide animations when necessary (but don’t overdo it!)
      Remember, this is a visual aide – don’t put up pages and pages of text: use bullet points and short
       phrases that you will elaborate upon with discussion

Handouts: (Files are in Microsoft Word format)

      Provide handouts for the class on the following topics:
          o A general outline and overview
          o Janie’s perceptions of marriage and relationships/how husbands shape this perspective

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

   TEWWG PowerPoint Rubric                         Group Members: __________________________
                                                                  __________________________
                                                                  __________________________
   A. Knowledge and depth of understanding                                                      _____ / 10

       Comments: ____________________________________________________________________

       ______________________________________________________________________________

   B. Speaking with clarity                                                                     ______ /10

       Comments: ____________________________________________________________________

       ______________________________________________________________________________

   C. Creativity, PowerPoint Presentation                                                       ______ /10

       Comments: ____________________________________________________________________

       ______________________________________________________________________________

   D. Organization                                                                              ______ /10

       Comments: ____________________________________________________________________

       ______________________________________________________________________________

                                                                           Total Points: _________ /40

								
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