Connections of Their Eyes Are Watching God, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Poem)

Topics: African American, Zora Neale Hurston, Harlem Renaissance Pages: 3 (1035 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Two works of African American women’s literature are Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and, Maya Angelou’s, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Both stories give example to an oppressed character and the difficulties of their lives. Through description of character, language and their surroundings they tell that adventure. As well as these two works, “What to a Slave is the fourth of July,” also shares a special connection to the literary works. These connections include the story and poem similarity, Authors input, and how the speech ties all these points together into the single topic of racism. In Their Eyes, Hurston uses the life and trials of Janie, to display the pliancy and ability of African American women to transform much of what others use to oppress and destroy them, such as race, gender, education, and poverty, into a source of strength and self-dependence . Janie is initially a young woman forced to entertain the wishes of those surrounding her, but she later transforms into a confident woman who unapologetically takes control of her circumstances, which is represented in her evolving hairstyles, manner of dressing, and self-assured portrayal of her body, especially her “firm buttocks” and “pugnacious breasts”. A similar form is portrayed in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” The main character in “Caged Bird” develops an understanding of why the “caged bird” is in such a bad condition and has limit itself. This is just like Janie when she was in her first and second marriage where she was “trapped” and wasn't allowed to do all she wanted or kept silent when she wanted to speak out. However, the free bird can do what it chooses and is free to express itself anyway it chooses, just like Janie when she was able decide her life for herself in her third marriage and loved her choice in the man. The works of Hurston and Angelou are related on various levels to their own lives. In her autobiographical series, Angelou shares the trials she...
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