Their Eyes Were Watching God
Women’s place in the status quo has gone a long way since the Harlem Renaissance. Zora Neale Hurston, author of the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, experienced the harshness of the reality that awaits the color of her skin by the time she was writing the piece. Apparently, that connotation amongst the black community has long been eradicated in the face of the society. Just recently, the world has triumphed over the victory of the first black president of the United States of America. That for one symbolizes how racial discrimination is slowly stamped out in the face of humanity. Truth would never dilute the fight for black women’s rights in order to concentrate attention on slavery. Today, her name still symbolizes the dual struggle that black women face between race and gender.
Zora’s Janie Crawford on the other hand, was significantly the epitome of the African-American town and considerably a representation of the life of a black woman. Three husbands, alleged for an attempt to kill one of them, and hated by most to say the least (Hurston). Conceivably, both categories share a rather hostile relationship interpretation of the blossom and the whirlwinds of the situation which entails the rapport of both ‘purity’ and ‘malevolence’ during that certain era. Conceivably, she chose to live her life according to her own belief and desire that her community never understood her ways of living.
The story is a creative and controversial manifestation written by a black woman of an anthropological discourse. Though it may be harsh to say that the story tears a reader’s heart apart with Janie’s trials and tribulations, Zora explicitly shows the light of an epic struggle of an extraordinarily vibrant woman who lives according to her own dreams and ideals. That is, surpassing the laws of the society.
In the midst of the Harlem days, captivating stories had been written to inspire readers instead of lingering the unfortunate fate of those who failed to survive in the war. An example for this, is a brave black American woman in the name of Fannie Lou Hamer, a woman armed with hope to eradicate a form of juxtapose deprivation against what she believed to be elements of privilege in her own very limited environment was painstakingly given to her and of her family, an implication which states that Black Americans do not allow themselves to be treated like slaves by others.
Along with her bravery as indulged by other authors were The Scottsboro Boys, Joe Louis, Richard Wright and Sterling Brown. When the war has commenced, children and women had to leave their homes for safety and let their fathers or any man in their family risk their lives to battle. Guns and explosives were seen everywhere. The flag was raised symbolizing that they are ready to face the doom of death. Children were ranting and women were hearing voices. They became afraid of coming out.
Stories on black women and the visual power of the black and female body; on language that has aesthetic resonance and race-oriented drama; and on children’s challenged habits of the narrative effect are revived in the stories of African American community life. The essence and the delightful fact which novels give is its “sense of materiality”, given the fact that most are written in the most sensible and sentimental way possible, profoundly striving to skip the rascality of prose. Thus, making novels earn a good credit in the ocean of language, art and letters which takes the seat of fame in literature.
Citizenship is meted out sparingly when one’s ethnicity is colored—Zora was never really praised during her living days, as a matter of fact, her works were only renowned decades after her painful death. Black female writers during her time were neglected and even taken like rags. The conflict that rose along the lines of race and gender was so extravagant that the society was perceivably run by a bracket of males who are white. The amazing fact which has been represented in his book, having presupposed two sets of unreservedly different perspectives to convey are interestingly the dynamic’s of Hurston’s ability to illustrate and give emphasis on his sense of unpredictability. Hence, that excruciating past is already a part of history.
It is evident that the times have consequently changed. In a contemporary literature that is often discussed critically in terms of the crisis of racial, psychological and spiritual identity, the essential feature in this struggle is actually quite superficial nowadays. It is one’s stand in the points of life that defines a person. The tragic loneliness black women consistently faced as they stood before judgmental others demands the need for change, and that change has embraced the world today (Hurston). Any man or woman—black or white—can now walk freely with pride and honor. The color of one’s skin is no longer a barrier towards achieving a better life.
. Hurston’s way of elaborating the series of events indulges readers to internalize and dwell on the art of indulging in real life events more specifically on the treatment given to the female inhabitants of the black town. Among these are the wages they receive, how they talk, how they are oppressed from getting admitted on certain jobs, how they are unable to exercise their right to suffrage. It clearly shows that a person’s self-esteem inculcated by culture and the universality of a race often affect the innocence and the way of living of individuals. But that has changed now. What black women used to shy away from are now within their grasp.
The wondrous clash of ingredients as conveyed in the novel has deliberately resulted into queries which rather give a squabble to the minds of the many readers. How it actually portrays the vortex of authenticity and engravings of societal implications which are considerably emblems of ‘real’ characters in this earthly place undeniably stands the immortality of the story. Zora may not have experienced the kind of freedom that she wanted. She may have been oppressed by the brutality of her time, but her works paved a way to open the eyes of her predecessors—at least for the future of their kind. She is a hero and her work is grandeur. She may not have witnessed the victory of her race but she must know that she is a legend—from Alice Walker’s dream—in a world that remembers her.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006.