Saturday, March 6, 2010

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

A woman goes through two husbands before she finally finds one who lets her be herself.

Two stories going on at the same time – the first is of Janie, who is oppressed under the thumb of two dour husbands then one day wakes up with Tea Cake, younger,full of fun, who loves Janie for herself. The other story is that of the people, or chorus, who are always in the background, working and telling jokes or insulting each other.  In general being lively and entertaining. The story doesn’t build like a classic plot would build – it’s more about Janie being ready to find her happiness, finding it, having it be better than expected, and then having it taken away. But she is still happy because she has the memory of Tea Cake. The flood scene is the big scene, and felt a little plopped in, although incredibly memorable ,as the book needed to be wrapped up, rather than the characters were racing towards this deadly flood. The prose is vivid, compelling and original. I wasn’t crazy about the dialect- it slowed down the pace as I had to read it outloud.

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