Although at the time of her death inHurston had published more books than any other black woman in America, she was unable to capture a mainstream audience in her lifetime, and she died poor and alone in a welfare hotel. Today, she is seen as one of the most important black writers in American history. Until her teens, Hurston was largely sheltered from racism.
Hurston was the fifth of eight children, and while she was still a toddler, her family moved to Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black incorporated town in the United States, where John Hurston served several terms as mayor.
InHurston enrolled in Morgan Academy in Baltimore, where she completed her high school education. Three years later, she enrolled at Howard University and began her writing career.
She took classes there intermittently for several years and eventually earned an associate degree. Inshe moved to New York and became a significant figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Meanwhile, she enrolled in Barnard College and studied anthropology with arguably the greatest anthropologist of the twentieth century, Franz Boas.
The literature of the s, a period of postwar prosperity, was marked by a sense of freedom and experimentation, but the s brought the Depression and an end to the cultural openness that had allowed the Harlem Renaissance to flourish.
This new crop of writers and artists dismissed much of the Harlem Renaissance as bourgeois, devoid of important political content and thus devoid of any artistic merit. Although she won a Guggenheim Fellowship and had published prolifically both works of fiction and anthropological worksHurston fell into obscurity for a number of years.
By the late s, she began to have increasing difficulty getting her work published. By the early s, she was forced to work as a maid. A stroke in the late s forced Hurston to enter a welfare home in Florida.
After she died penniless on January 28,she was buried in an unmarked grave. Alice Walker, another prominent African-American writer, rediscovered her work in the late s. Certain aspects of the book, though, make it possible to discuss it in other literary contexts.
For example, some critics argue that the novel should be read in the context of American Southern literature: But Their Eyes Were Watching God resists reduction to a single movement, either literary or political.We've also got a complete Online Course about Their Eyes Were Watching God, with three weeks worth of readings and activities to make sure you know your stuff.
Love, hate, murder, gossip, travel, politics, poetry, death, and life—Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God has it all. Start studying Zora Neale Hurston's Strong Voice Quiz. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses dialect when Tea Cake speaks in order to.
Historical and Cultural Context in "Civil Peace" Quiz. Nanny looked to whites to determine what her future should hold and was led astray.
Janie, however, goes after what she wants in life: love. We could see Janie as having eyes watching God, rather than watching other people. The title can also be looked at from the slave/master standpoint. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel and the best known work by African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston.
The novel narrates main character Janie Crawford's "ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.".
Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, – January 28, ) was an influential author of African-American literature and anthropologist, who portrayed racial struggles in the early 20th century American South, and published research on Haitian voodoo.
Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, her most popular is the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora Neale Hurston Biography; Critical Essays; Major Themes of Their Eyes Were Watching God; The most prevalent themes in Their Eyes Were Watching God involve Janie's search for unconditional, true, and fulfilling love.
She experiences different kinds of love throughout her life. As a result of her quest for this love, Janie gains her .