Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story written by Zora Neale Hurston and is centered around the main character Janie, from when she was a young child to an old woman.
Hurston chooses a very selective writing style to emphasize the story of Janie’s life. One example is the dialect Hurston chose to use, it helped the reader understand that they were more from the South and that the language was more from the time frame of the 1950’s – 1960’s this was very important to the story to help the reader understand and connect to what Hurston is trying to portray “De docatah told you tuh sleep by yo’self, Tea Cake. Don’t yuh remember him tellin’ you dat yistiddy?” (Hurston 183). Another significant piece of Hurston writing style was the way she used her words. In the story, you may notice that Hurston uses connotations to help connect with the reader rather than denotations that make the story harder to connect with and to understand.
Hurston also liked to use allusions that stimulate ideas with extra information in the reader’s mind with only a word or two, and these are very important because it allows the reader to visualize what is happening in this story. Their Eyes Were Watching God could be called a Bildungsroman which is characterized by a novel showing the development from childhood to maturity.This novel shows just that with Janie following what she believes is right and not what other people think.
Janie doing this shows great maturity and confidence. To start things off Hurston used characterization to reveal personalities of the first couple characters you meet in the book. You learn very quickly Janie lives with her grandmother, her dad left Janie when she was very young and her mom was just barely in the picture. Janie did not understand love it just seemed like an abstraction rather than a feeling, on the other hand her grandmother just wanted her to find love and marry the first man she met so that she can pass on to the other side without fear of her granddaughter not living to the fullest “De though uh you bein’ kicked around from pillar to post is uh hurtin’ thing.” (Hurston 15). But on the other hand, Janie’s grandmother taught her great morals and euphemism to Janie. She knew that there were other words to address African Americans rather than the harsh “n” word that was popular at the time. In the end, Janie did listen to what her grandmother wanted her to do and she ended up marrying the first boy she had ever kissed or even encountered with.
His name was Joe, and at first, she believed this was her life and this was the man she was meant to be with. Years have passed and something changed Janie could not abstract the thought that this is what love is supposed to be like. Janie knew that Joe was not the one, especially after the day he slapped her right in the face. Somewhere out there, she knew there was a man that would allow her to feel loved. She was just waiting for him to find her “She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen” (Hurston 72).
With not giving too much away from the story you can easily tell that Hurston was focusing on the realism of literature.She wanted to focus on the truth of love and finding yourself through it all, but Hurston did not want to leave out the implausible. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that anyone can seem to connect with, and with Hurston’s writing style it makes it that much easier.