Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Of the Many themes that course through Zora Neale Hurston’s well known 1937 Novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the evolution of the protagonist, Janie’s, voice is one of the more well known subjects. Though the novel may be about a young African American woman growing into herself, the entirety of the novel can be traced through Janie’s speech. From her Disagreement with Logan Kilicks, to her silent but begrudging submission to Mayor Jody Starks, To her bloom of self-discovery with Tea Cake Woods Janie’s voice is very present and very reflective of herself in all of these events. The novel begins with Janie's return to Eatonville after the events involving Tea Cake Woods. As Janie walks through town she sees a group of women sitting on the porch talking and gossiping. “These sitters had been tongue less, earless, eyeless conveniences all day long. Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins, but now, the sun and the bossman were away, so the skins felt powerful and human. They became lords of sounds and lesser things. They passed nations through their mouths. They sat in judgment.” (Hurston 2) The “skins” of which Janie was referring too are the blacks after a day of work returning to the porch to talk and tell folk talks. The idea that they feel powerful and that they are “lords of sounds and lesser things” shows that the telling of folk tales and verbal communication are both very large parts of the African American culture during that time period. After Janie passes the “skins” she returns to the house that she and Jody Starks used to share.

As Janie begins to wash up inside her old house she is confronted by her friend Phoeby. Janie realizes that she should explain her absence and return to the others, but decides to do so by using her friend Phoeby. As she explains “Ah don’t mean to bother wid tellin’ ‘em nothin’ Phoeby. Tain’t worth de trouble. You can tell ‘em what I say if you wants to. Dat’s just the same as me...
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