Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a novel written by Zora Neale Hurston and published in 1937. The book follows the life of Janie Crawford, an African-American woman in the early 20th century who struggles to find her place in society and pursue her own desires.

The story begins with Janie returning to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, after a failed marriage. Her grandmother, Nanny, had arranged the marriage for Janie, hoping it would provide her with financial security and a better life. However, Janie’s husband, Logan Killicks, is old and unromantic, and Janie feels stifled in their relationship.

Janie later meets and falls in love with Joe Starks, a charismatic and ambitious man who promises to make her his queen and take her to a new town, where he plans to become a wealthy businessman and political leader. Janie initially finds fulfillment in her marriage to Joe, but over time, she realizes that he is more concerned with his own power and reputation than with her happiness.

After Joe’s death, Janie falls in love with a younger man named Tea Cake, who is fun-loving and adventurous. Together, they move to the Everglades and work on a farm, where Janie finally finds the happiness and freedom she has been seeking. However, their idyllic life is threatened by a devastating hurricane, which ultimately leads to Tea Cake’s death.

Through Janie’s story, Hurston explores themes of gender, race, love, and identity. The novel is also notable for its use of dialect, which captures the speech patterns and rhythms of African-American vernacular English. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is widely regarded as a classic of African-American literature and a groundbreaking work for its portrayal of the experiences of black women in the early 20th century.