There Eyes Were Watching God Essay, Research Paper
Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zora Neale Hurston, is a novel of self-realization about a woman on a quest for her own identity. Other black writers of the Harlem Renaissance were angry that Their Eyes Were Watching God was not a novel of bitter social realism, but one of joy and celebration. In her novel, Hurston dares to portray the black woman as a hero. The first chapter of Their Eyes Were Watching God introduces some of the novel s major themes. Judgment and dreams are two of the major themes that are revealed in the first chapter of the novel. One of the major themes revealed in the first chapter of the novel is dreams. Ships at a distance have every man s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. This quote can be interpreted to the effect that men do not go after their dreams. The dreams of men are always at a distance, and although the men know what it is that they want, they can never grasp it. Some men are able to live their dreams, while others sit and wait rather than going after what they want. Now, women forget all those things they don t want to remember, and remember everything they don t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly. Shelton 2Women make their dreams a reality by acting accordingly. Dreams play a huge part in Janie s quest for her own identity. She wishes for love, while she is told to desire security. By never giving up her dreams, Janie never sacrifices who she is or what she is striving for.
Another major theme reveled in the first chapter of the novel is judgment. The people of Eatonville are constantly judging Janie and her actions. It was the time to hear things and talk these sitters sat in judgment. When Janie returns from burying Teacake, the townspeople are full of judgmental remarks. Remarks are made by the porch sitters about Janie s attire, financial status, and romantic situation when it is none of their concern. When Janie passes by, the men and women sit hoping to hear some information to help further judge Janie. They were full of hope that she might fall to their level someday . Later in the story, Phoeby takes dinner to Janie and says, You know if you pass some people and don t speak tuh suit em dey got tuh go way back in yo life and see what you ever done. People were so intimidated by Janie that they had to judge her in order to deal with their own insecurity. Yeah, Sam say most of em goes to church so they ll be sure to rise in Judgment. Dat s de day dat every secret is s posed to be made known. They wants to be there and hear it all. The porch sitters were full of so much gossip that they were seen as being the kind of people to take something like religion and perverse it so that is benefits their judgmental natures. The first chapter of a novel often reveals the major themes of the story. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the themes revealed in the first chapter set a pattern for the Shelton 3rest of the story. Two of the major themes, dreams and judgment, play a major role in the development of the characters as well as the rest of the story.