Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

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In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is set into a life that she doesn’t want by a grandmother that doesn’t understand her. On her own, she sets out to become her own woman and to lead her own life.


Why this book?: Another required reading book from my Advanced English class.

 

I’d like to start out this review by saying this: I’m not black. I’m white, and I have no way of knowing anything about racism or other topics dealing with race. If someone sees something wrong with anything I’ve said, please point it out to me, and I’ll try to fix it.

Unique writing immerses you in the story

It’s hard to miss the unique and beautiful writing and Hurston opens with, describing an idea with an analogy that you understood immediately but you don’t know exactly how you understood it. This gorgeous writing is accompanied by a dialect used all-throughout the novel for all of the characters. It’s hard to describe it, really, but it was easy to understand, especially when read aloud.

Janie Crawford is such an important character. She is a realistic character with realistic views. I love that she knows what she wants, and she goes in search of it. Sure, she doesn’t get there right away, and sure, there were a lot of set backs. But her journey was made so much more important just because of how realistic it was, tugging at the heartstrings with as much force as possible.

A variety of characters

It was clearly obvious that we had a wide range of characters. Because of that, I often had trouble keeping track of them, despite the recurring characters that were in it often. A lot of the times I found random names being thrown around, with no background or note on who exactly they were. I got lost often with that, so instead tried to focus on the main characters, despite that also frequently changing. First it was Janie and Pheoby, then Janie and her Grandmother, and then Janie and Logan. And so on, Janie went with Jody and Tea Cake.

I found it hard to like a few characters. I understood that you weren’t meant to like some of them, but for some reason Tea Cake never clicked with me, although I felt like he should have had some spark with me. I found the latter half of the book difficult to read through because of this, because it focused so much on Janie and Tea Cake’s relationship.

Final Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall?

Despite this ever-changing cast of characters, minus Janie of course, I found everything else enjoyable. Even though the plot wasn’t very steady, that wasn’t a huge problem. I didn’t know I would enjoy this book as much as I did, but it has quickly risen to the ranks of those oh-so-rare favorite classics.

Would I Recommend?

Yes. Definitely. It’s an important book, even though it doesn’t directly deal with racism. I enjoyed it even though it wasn’t my choice to read it, and I will be forever grateful to my teacher for assigning this novel for discussion.


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Additional Information:

Published: September 13, 1937

Publisher: J.P. Lippincott

Page Count: 227

Genre: Classic Lit

Synopsis: via Goodreads

When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds …

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7 thoughts on “Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

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