Rethorical Analysis

Topics: Black people, Zora Neale Hurston, African American Pages: 5 (1963 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Teacher Commentary
            This essay perceptively analyzes how certain rhetorical techniques develop purpose in one passage of Their Eyes Were Watching God. The writer provides plentiful evidence in the form of quotations which are smoothly blended and analyzed in depth and detail. The analysis reveals subtle aspects of the author’s style. The introduction could be shortened; only a brief statement of the context for the passage is needed. In addition, some of the sentences are so long that they lack clarity. Although the student’s writing style could be tightened, this is an excellent example of insightful and thorough analysis of rhetorical devices as they accomplish purpose.  

Student Name
Teacher Name
AP English Language
Rhetorical Analysis Essay for Their Eyes Were Watching God, Chapter 19, pages 275                         276: “Then she saw…couldn’t rest until it heard.”             Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is the story of one black woman’s attempt to realize her dreams and to achieve happiness in her life.  Throughout the book, the reader follows Janie Woods as she travels from one man to the next and from one town to the next in search of happiness, freedom, and love.  Janie abandons her first husband and the oppressive, conventional life that she lives with him in order to pursue a more stimulating, adventurous, and exciting one with Jody Sparks.  With his big dreams for the future and his plans to build an “all-colored” town, Jody seems at first to  embody the very things that Janie is seeking in life, but he very quickly turns out to be as  

oppressive and restrictive as Janie’s first husband.  When he dies, however, both Janie and the reader become acquainted with Tea Cake, a relatively poor yet nonetheless charming man who professes his love to Janie and asks her to run away with him to the Everglades.  Janie does, and it becomes clear that Tea Cake and Janie are the perfect fit. With Tea Cake, Janie is happier than she has ever been, and it seems that she will finally achieve her dreams.  When Tea Cake becomes infected with rabies and shoots at Janie with a gun, however, Janie is forced to kill him in a devastating twist of plot.  Afterwards, Janie is thrown into jail and then tried by jury in order to decide if she will be convicted of murdering Tea Cake.  If she is convicted, her life and her quest for happiness and the pursuit of her dreams will be destroyed.  If she is allowed to go free, she can continue her life and her quest for happiness.  In this pivotal courthouse scene, the climax of the story of Janie’s struggle to achieve happiness and the deciding moment of her fate, Zora Neale Hurston uses figurative language, varied sentence structure, and a unique, circular kind of organization of the passage in order to build tension and suspense and to create a vivid image of the courthouse and of the events of the trial for the reader.             The passage begins with a series of very strong and powerful images of the black  people in the courthouse, who are standing in the back “Packed tight like a case of celery.” This simile produces the feeling that these people are strong, standing strong and straight and tall.  They are stern, unmoving and unbending, and they are all “against her.”  Hurston emphasizes this idea -  the idea that the blacks are all against Janie -  by repeating the phrase twice.  The first time, there is no idea attached to the phrase other than the idea that Janie is alone, that this solid, tightly-packed celery-wall of her people has disowned her, is standing against her.  The second time she repeats the phrase, however, Hurston says in clear hyperbole, “so many were there against her that a light slap from each one of them would have beat her to death.”  This statement brings a new dimension to the blacks’ angry, stem demeanor.  Not only are they large in number and stern and disapproving...
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