Themes and Motifs of Their Eyes Were Watching God

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  • Topic: Zora Neale Hurston, Interpersonal relationship, Novel
  • Pages : 3 (1109 words )
  • Download(s) : 607
  • Published : May 7, 2012
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Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God incorporates three main themes with motifs that define Janie as an independent, intelligent, and strong woman. The three themes include: speech and silence, power and downfall as means to accomplishment, and love and relationship in opposition to independence. In each theme, a motif is attached to give meaning of Hurston’s interpretation of Janie.

Zora Neale Hurston utilizes speech and silence as an interesting narrative structure, splitting the story’s arrangement between idiomatic discourse and high literary narration. Janie’s world is distinguished with the long passages of culturally rich voices of discourse; with their characteristic grammar, vocabulary, and tone making their individuality speak as do few others in American literature. An example of idiomatic discourse Hurston uses is a dialogue between Pheoby and the porch-sitters in front of the store. Hurston writes, “Well, nobody don’t know if it’s anything to tell or not. Me, Ah’m her best friend, and Ah don’t know.” “’Tain’t no use in your tryin’ to cloak no ole woman lak Janie Starks, Pheoby, friend or no friend” (Hurston 3). Hurston is able to switch between the rural South dialect and into high literary narration. This dialogue speaks to Janie’s developing understanding of herself in relation to the world. It is the discussion of Janie’s individuality in association with the community. Hurston’s use of language equals that of Janie’s pursuit to find her voice. Jody oppresses Janie’s speech, as when he prevents her from talking after he is name mayor; her hatred of him stems from this restraint of her individuality. On the other hand, Tea Cake engages her speech, conversing with her and putting him on equal terms with her; her love for him stems from his respect for her individuality. Janie learns that silence too can be a source of empowerment after discovering her ability to define her speech communication with others. She...
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