Symbols of Feminine Power in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

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Symbols of Feminine Power in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Much evidence supports Saturday Review writer Doris Grumbach's opinion that Their Eyes Were Watching God is "the finest black novel of its time" and "one of the finest of all time" (Washington, 4). Zora Neale Hurston's text is highly regarded because of the meaning and purpose it conveys using poetic language and folkloric imagery. It is the heroic story of Janie Crawford's search for individuality, self-realization, and independence from the patriarchal forces of her time. Because the novel is mainly concerned with Janie's many relationships within a male-dominated context, it is only logical to take feminist view of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Throughout my reading
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It is important that this unconsciousness is brought to the conscious, especially when reading a text written by a woman because "consciousness is power" (995). Fetterley says that we, as the audience, must formulate a new understanding of our literature in order to allow it to have a new effect on us. This new effect will therefore provide the conditions necessary to change the culture that the literature reflects. Possibly the most important change which needs to take place in our present culture is the questioning of ideas surrounding the myths and ideas about men and women that have been established in our literature. This system of power that has been established can only be discussed and perhaps changed if we use Adrienne Rich's methods of "re-vision" which is done by "looking back [and] seeing with fresh eyes…an old text from a new critical direction" (996). This method is very beneficial to those reading Zora Neale Hurston's text because of the simple symbols such as the porches, trees, and the horizon that may be overlooked. However, when analyzed, these representations can be interpreted as sources of power for the main character.

The horizon is the first image the audience encounters at the opening of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston writes, "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

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