Eatonville Hyperbole

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In this section of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston characterizes Eatonville and the people within as very religious, competitive, traditionally and ethically involved, and unified. With the use of hyperbole, personification, idiom, and metaphors, Hurston develops these complex characteristics.

Starting off, the author compares the arguments of Sam and Lige to a “contest in hyperbole” (page 63). This metaphor showcases how the people in the town always try to show off for others. Hurston, point blank, says that their arguments are pointless except to garner them an audience. This portrays the town in a negative light because it suggests argumentation is for a person’s self-fulfillment instead of that person’s gain of knowledge. Since arguing is seen as a form of entertainment for others, Eatonville is also portrayed as an easygoing town. Continuing through the argument of Sam and Lige, Sam personifies God by stating that Lige “talks inside business” with Him. With this device, Sam portrays God as an
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This hyperbole suggests that the residents of Eatonville are in some way unified. Because their argument is entertaining, many townsfolk are hovering over them watching. Thus, a comparison between the world and the community can be made. If one situation occurs, then everyone within the town will know about it; suggesting the small or harmonious aspects of Eatonville. Later, Sam says he will carry the argument from “gnat heel to lice” (page 64). This idiom suggests that the people within the town are competitive and will not give up without a fight. Since Sam will continue the conversation no matter the circumstance, his resilience, and determination to not decrease his honor is shown. This, then, attributes to the self-centered characteristic of the residents. They will keep arguing, in this example, in order to preserve their

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