Gender in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Gender is the wide set of characteristics that distinguish between male and female entities, extending from one's biological sex to, in humans, one's social role or gender identity. Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. Sexual politics is the principles governing relationships between the sexes; also, such relationships seen in terms of power. Ideas and activities that are concerned with how power is shared between men and women, and how this affects their relationships

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is a text at once (ac)claimed for its ability to speak to contemporary gender and sexual politics and blamed for its inability to speak to the local, particularized politics of its time Their Eyes were watching God disrupts neat dichotomies (any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts.) between respectability and desire, middle- and working-class discourses, and club and blues women. Their Eyes alludes to the politics of rape and lynching, by first charging Janie with sexual misconduct and then by acquitting her, primarily in the trial scene. However, Their Eyes does not reject charges of African American women's libidinousness (driven by lust) at the expense of sexual expression, as literary critics have argued of other texts from this period.

J ANIE CRAWFORD, an attractive, confident, middle-aged black woman, returns to Eatonville, Florida, after a long absence. The black townspeople gossip about her and -speculate about where she has been and what has happened to her young husband, Tea Cake. They take her confidence as aloofness, but Janie’s friend Pheoby Watson sticks up for her. Pheoby visits her to find out what has happened. Their conversation frames the story that Janie relates.

Janie explains that her grandmother raised her after her mother ran off. Nanny loves her granddaughter and is dedicated to her, but her life as a slave and experience with her own daughter, Janie’s...
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