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A classic feminist novel of tribulations, self-exploration, (self-) love, and empowerment. While the black vernacular and physical & verbal abuse may be off-putting for some, I believe that it defines the era and characters with honesty and sincerity. This book meant a great deal to me during my high school years. It was moving to see Janie's character evolve and make peace with herself and the events of her life. Highly recommend, for teens and adults!
Started out fantastic. Poetic. Beautifully written. Amazing anaolgies. But the black lingo of "dis" and "dem" got really tiring. The low level of sophistication got very tiring too. Why did she hate her grandmother who sacrificed herself to raise her? Why did she endure even one episode of physical abuse from her husband and why did the author not sketch that out more? In the end, I was as disappointed with the novel as I was excited about it in the beginning.
Highly overrated, in my opinion. Found the conversations written in the southern, black dialect hard to read compared to the poetic & descriptive prose. Story was not exactly exciting and was a bit depressing.
As a young girl, Janie dreamed of love and happiness, but life rarely turns out how we plan. Full of betrayal, abuse, and tragedy but also beauty, romance, and humor, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a powerful and influential story of black female self discovery.
I listened to the audio version of this book with Ruby Dee reading/performing and both the story and Ruby Dee's performance are wonderful! At first I was not sure I could listen to the 'black speak' but after several minutes I was immersed in the story and found myself relating to the thoughts and feelings of many of the characters. I highly recommend this audio book!
I live on the land of Janie's FL but Hurston describes FL that I have never seen and people I have never met. This novel is overwhelming w/ feeling and descriptive words and phrases. It is written in a southern dialect but I found that it was essential to the story and the time. Janie starts out as a young girl whose Grandmother remembered slavery. This is a young black girl's coming of age novel in the south in the 1930-40s. Hurston's writing enables one to live in Janie's skin and really understand and feel the situations she encounters, her growth and eloquence when she is able to live life on her own terms.
So glad I went back and read this classic. Such a unique look at power dynamics re: gender and race during that point in time...and such lovely language and use of vernacular. Also: Ruby Dee reads the audio and is spectacular!
*Fangirling about Zora Neale-Hurston*
Their Eyes Were Watching God is an amazing novel and a must-read! The author, Zora Hurston, does an amazing job of conveying the evolution of the main character Jane as she begins to understand what she truly desires in her life partner and herself. This novel is an amazing read, however, it does take a high level of comprehension skills. The narration is very colloquial and informal, and most of the characters use condensed versions of words, therefore readers must actually sound out some of the conversations. Thus, I rated this novel a 4 out of 5, and not a 5 out of 5, because of the very important lessons in this coming of age novel. However, I deducted one star because the plot is hard to follow at some points because of the language used.
Oh my goodness, I don't know where to begin. This author's writing is beautiful and descriptive. The raw reality made it difficult to read at times. The strength and honesty of the main character is inspiring. I read this novel for my Well Read Mom's book club or may never have picked it up. Definitely worth the read.
I'm gratefully savoring this classic! Poetic prose in Southern dialect from a colorful community of characters that I can visualize and feel.
I felt compelled to read Their Eyes Were Watching God after reading Glory Edim's, Well-Read Black Girl anthology. I can relate to the main character, Janie on a spiritual level, specifically her quest to live life on her own terms. In her case, she did this during an era in American society when it was very unpopular for a woman to exercise any form of independence or autonomy. Nonetheless, I'm so glad that I finally read this classic novel! I believe that novels represent a piece of their authors, so I'd like to imagine that Janie is a reflection of her creator, Zora Neale Hurston; and if she is, then Zora would've definitely been a friend of mine.
A story that was almost lost to time. This novel about first love and becoming true to ones self - is the subject of many scholarly discussions. It is on the reading list of many High School Curriculum, and is a wonderful love story to come out of the Harlem Renaissance. One of the most unique aspects of this book - is the dialect in which it is written. The southern cadence, with which the main character Janie, narrates the whole novel in is beautiful and rhythmic.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone younger than 16-17 though. Simply because in it are themes - that normally one wouldn't understand until older - or that you might just need a little more experience to read. If you find yourself reading this book - and don't get all the hype - I would definitely suggest giving it another chance in a year or two. It might change your perspective - I know that's what happened with me - a year ago I would have given this book a frustrated 2 stars and an angry comment.
I love this book. She has a turn of phrase that is lyrical and frequently poetic, and a strong singular voice in her writing. The only thing that spoiled it a little for me, was the constant thought that if anyone had written the book this way in today's times, the thought police would have come to get them.
This is a lovely story. A woman grows to believe in herself, her life, her love.
Hurston tells this story in dialect. It slowed my reading down; thus making me really read the words, immerse in the story. It's diabolically clever of her.
Janie's story is one I'll remember. She's a wonderful, warm, loving character.
A terrific read.
Loved, loved, loved this book. Read it years ago and love it even more now. I was captivated by the idiomatic black voice which lent surprising imagery to the dialogue even though it slowed me down, because I wanted to really hear it in my head. Such a noble story of a woman discovering the indomitability of her spirit despite being mired in the lower echelons of society. Hurston has it all here – themes of love, race, power, gender, spirituality – eloquent and unhurried as she brings the protagonist into self-realization.
Hurston's achingly beautiful novel captures one woman's journey for self-discovery. Janie Crawford leads a life of hardship and struggle until she finds happiness and the realization of what living means with Teo Cake. The romance they share is incredibly genuine and pure. Although sadness befalls the temple of love they build for each other, the story exalts the sacrament of loving someone forever. This book covers all of life's value lessons: finding one's self; learning to love, trust, endure, and believe; dealing with adversity, grief, and loss; and struggling to survive and move on. Hurston is a gifted writer, and she creates a vernacular dialogue as rich and mesmerizing as Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. She has captured the culture and dialect of the African American experience in the South, and it is easy to see the influence of Hurston’s work on such accomplished writers as Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Their Eyes Were Watching God is an unforgettable novel by an artist at the height of her abilities. It is truly an amazing reading experience.
There Eyes Are Watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston a historical master work!
It been years since reading it but the story lingers in my mind. A romance coming of age
story of a young girl who becomes a woman through the post Reconstructionist segregated
South in the Black Experience. As a young girl, the main character is charmed by a well dress, worldly traveler, with huge ambition and a plan for success, with whom she runs away and later marries.
Life is grand as good fortune and security take hold in their sleepy small town, as they become the statues quo of middle classes values. But like all great stories a series of tragic events interrupt their upwardly mobile life styles, For example a horse dies in the middle of the street and lingers decomposing a sign of things to come. Secondly, she is still young and very attractive, and he seems much older, preoccupied with work and physically less appealing as time passes quickly. Then throw a mysterious younger man in the mix, who is talented and has all the small town girls swooning and you've got bad mixture. The handsome younger man begins hanging around the couple's store and does adds a certain amount of excitement to both their lives, but drama and tension begin to mount.
"Their Eyes Are Watching God"does have some action adventure and strange twists with the two young people becoming lovers, venturing off, and living in the woods eventually becoming loggers in a great forest. You will have to see what happens next, but its enough to create a special effects movie version starring Hailey Berry and Terrence Howard, produced by Oprah Winfrey! One of the truly great novels features a female protagonist and narrative insights by her. A must read...
Ghettostone Publications Group Highly Recommends This One!
Leader of the Best Sellers Book Club was unanimously in favor of this title as a must read!
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A black woman, granddaughter of a slave, finds her voice in 1930's Florida. Moving American classic focuses on family dynamics.
A masterpiece. Deserves a place on literary shelves with the likes of Steinbeck and Pushkin.