Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Their Eyes Were Watching God

You will shortly should already be writing a literary analysis on Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. The paper will be 650-750 words in length, in MLA format. Pick one of the following questions to begin your analysis. Whichever prompting question you choose to drive the topic of your analysis essay, you must first identify the what & why behind it. What devices does Hurston use within the topic of the question? WHY? What theme and/meaning is behind her choice of device?
  • What is the meaning of the title Their Eyes Were Watching God? Why did Hurston choose this title? Analyze the recurring theme of God in the novel. 
  • The pear trees, bees, and (especially) the horizon occur in several instances throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God. In Hurston’s autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, she describes the horizon as the place “where the heroine contemplates, explores and achieves the horizon.” Discuss the significance of these symbols in the novel. 
  • Throughout Janie's life, she searches for true, unconditional love. In her search, she experiences different kinds of love. Describe the types of love she experiences. Which type of love has the most impact on her life? In the end, has Janie experienced true love, and, if so, has it changed her? 
  • In her marriage to Jody, Janie is dominated by his power. At several points, however, it is obvious that he feels threatened by her. Why does Jody need to be in control of everyone around him? How does Janie threaten Jody and his sense of control? 
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God is concerned with issues of speech and how speech is both a mechanism of control and a vehicle for freedom. Yet Janie remains silent during key moments in her life. Discuss the theme of silence in the book and how that theme changes throughout the novel. 
  • In 1937, Richard Wright reviewed Their Eyes Were Watching God and objected to the novel’s discussion of race and use of black dialect. Why might Wright have objected to Their Eyes Were Watching God? Do you agree or disagree with Wright’s interpretation of the novel? 
  • Discuss the role of community in Their Eyes Were Watching God. What purpose does the community, namely the porchsitters, serve throughout the novel? 
  • The opening of the novel tells about men’s and women’s motivations, actions, and dreams. Write an essay commenting on the significance of the first two paragraphs as they relate to the rest of the novel.
Due January 4th by 11:59 PM on Turnitin. Upload both in Google Classroom and in Turnitin. We can use Turnitin for formal peer reviews, and for both you and I to check papers for plagiarism and grammar. Based on my experience with the JFK papers and the feedback from AP 11, it's better to grade the actual papers on Google Docs as the feedback is so much easier to read and process (it's oddly kind of messy in Turnitin).

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