Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Exploring “Their Eyes Were Watching God’’

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God


Brennen, Dilyard, & DiTurno

DUE DATE: Sunday, October 18, 2020, by 11:59 p.m.

Choose ONE of the following prompts to answer in 3+ paragraphs/no fewer than 750 words:

  1. Consider Janie’s description of the day she realized that she was not white (pages 8-9) and compare this description to Zora Neal Hurston’s essay, “How It Feels to be Colored Me.” In both texts, the speaker’s explanation of her awareness of race refers to more than an awareness of skin tone. What does Hurston mean when she writes about “realizing she was colored”? What does Janie become aware of when she views the photo? How would you describe Hurston’s view of racial identity?
  1. On page 9, Janie says, “Dey all uster call me Alphabet ‘cause so many people had none named me different names.” Examine the use of names in the novel. What do the character’s names reveal about identity? How do names reflect a character’s culture, socioeconomic position, and/or personality? Pay particular attention to characters that are called more than one name throughout the novel.
  1. The novel contains several scenes with men talking in an exaggerated and humorous way about women. Examine these scenes (pages 36; 67-69) and explain what they reveal about the cultural context of male and female roles.
  1. One of the universal themes of literature is the idea that children suffer because of the mistakes of an earlier generation. Examine the development of this theme in Their Eyes Were Watching God by analyzing the story that Nanny tells about her life (pages 14-20). Discuss Nanny’s interactions with white men and women. How did growing up in slavery impact her worldview? How has her past impacted her relationship with her daughter and granddaughter?
  1. Two of the interconnected themes in the novel are the search for identity and the individual in opposition to society. Use the following quote from page 77 as a starting point for the exploration of these themes: “Then one day she sat and watched the shadow of herself going about tending store and prostrating itself before Jody, while all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair and her clothes.” Throughout the novel, what causes Janie to separate her exterior life from her interior life? How does she reconcile this conflict?
  1. What are the traditional stereotypes of men and women in this novel? In what ways does Janie fit the typical feminine stereotype? In what ways does Janie violate typical gender boundaries? How could some of her words or actions be seen as masculine? How might men view this as a threat?

_____/10 MLA Format (heading, header, font, spacing, etc.). Works Cited page is included.

_____/20 Introduction includes main points and introduces the reader to the argument. Thesis statement is included and is not generic.

_____/20 Conclusion restates all the main points of the literary analysis.

_____/30 Paper is organized using literary analysis organization structure and the content discussed is appropriate for that structure.

_____/100 Answers the prompt and the paper analyzes most aspects of the text while meeting the length requirement of 750 words. Displays advanced critical thinking skills and discuss Their Eyes Were Watching appropriately. *Your essay should NOT be ONE paragraph in length. The essay should be split into multiple paragraphs.

_____/25 Uses at LEAST FIVE direct quotes and in-text citations from Their Eyes Were Watching God (and/or “How it Feels to be Colored Me” if you choose that prompt) – must be properly and appropriately used.

_____/20 Grammar and punctuation mistakes are not distracting to the reader

http://files-do-not-link.udc.edu/docs/asc/Outline_Structure_for_Literary_Analysis_Essay_HATMAT.pdf  –  file attached


_____/225 TOTAL


subject: English


Answer preview……………………….

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