In 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God was published and reviewed by both black and white critics. Black critics received the book differently than white critics did and the book wasn’t liked much by the black community. Many Black critics think that Hurston oversimplified black people’s character. On the contrary, White critics loved it for being an old-fashioned novel of black culture. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses symbols and diction to inform of Janie’s “grand adventures”.Zora Neale Hurston was born in Eatonville, Florida, claiming in her autobiography that she was born January 7th, 1903. Eatonville was the first all-black incorporated town in the nation and her father was the mayor so she didn’t have to worry about racial discrimination. At a young age she was a maid for many white families. Luckily one of her employers sent her to get an education which led her to becoming one of the most captivating writers in America. She started her studies at Morgan Academy, and later went to Barnard College, Howard University, and Columbia University. In 1921, Hurston released her first story and gained much respect from the Harlem Renaissance for her rich writings. Zora Neale Hurston was also able to go on trips to Florida to gather folklore because of Mrs. Rufus Osgood Mason, a patron who helped her with all the funds. After a couple years she published Mules And Men, a novel that gave her mass recognition and a winning ticket to study more folklore in the West Indies. She also wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel that had a relationship based on her romance with a younger man. Sadly, the book fell between the cracks and was forgotten about until years later.Symbols are a big part and are frequently used all throughout the chapters in Their Eyes Were Watching God. One of the many symbols was the head rag, Jody forced her to put up her hair and wear a head rag over it because he didn’t want men to stare at her. The head rag represented oppression, Jody wanted everyone to know she was under his control and possession. The narrator says,”This business of the head-rag irked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was NOT going to show…” Jody’s very jealous and predominant of Janie (Hurston 55). Another symbol in the novel was the hurricane that hit in the Everglades. It symbolized the strong forces of nature and God, reminding the people that social stratification is feeble and that we are human before class. The narrator says,”The wind came back with triple fury, and put out the light for the last time…their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His.” this shows that they finally realized their power is nothing compared to God’s power (Hurston 160). One other symbol was when Janie and Tea Cake started playing checkers together outside the store. This symbolizes equality for women, Janie was always below her two past husbands, she was more of an object to them rather than a human being. The narrator says,”He(Tea Cake) set it (the checkers) up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Someone thought it was natural for her to play.” this shows that Tea Cake treats both men and women equally, he thinks women are as smart as men and they can do the same things men do.The way Zora Neale Hurston structured her novel was one way she used stylistic element. Through the chapters, the structure is in chronological order because Janie is telling her story to Pheoby, starting from the beginning. Janie starts her story by saying,”Ah know exactly what Ah got to tell yuh, but it’s hard to know where to start at.” she ends up beginning when she was a young girl living with her grandma (Hurston 8). Hurston also uses diction in the novel to make the characters come to life and have it seem like the reader is in the book with them. Diction gives a better understanding on how people would talk during this time. Janie says,” Ah don’t mean to bother wid tellin’ ’em nothin’, Pheoby.’Tain’t worth the trouble. You can tell ’em what I say if you wants to.”Hurston is using low diction to make the characters more casual (Hurston 6). Imagery was one other stylistic element that Hurston used. The use of imagery helps picture the characters and settings in the novel. The narrator says,”The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her hip pockets…” this is showing that even though Janie has aged, she is still shown as sexually attractive in the reader’s mind (Hurston 2). Zora Neale Hurston’s wide variety of stylistic elements helped her novel stand out more compared to others. The majority of this novel was about finding love and happiness even after two broken marriages. In Sheila Hibbens critique, she writes about how Tea Cake was different from Mr. Killicks and Jody, how he showed her true love. Sheila said,”she didn’t get it when she ran off with Joe Starks and got to be the mayor’s wife…” she’s saying that Janie didn’t get the same feelings that she got for Tea Cake when she was with Joe (Hibben 330). Janie was happy with Joe for a little bit, but the love faded away. Sheila also said,”Janie did not get her sweetness when her Grandma married her to Mister Killicks with his sixty acres of West Florida land, and his sagging belly…” he was too old for Janie and all he did was make her work so she had no feelings towards him (Hibben 329). In Sheila’s critique she stated,” He handed her the keys to the kingdom, and their life together(what there was of it) was rapture and fun and tenderness and understanding – the perfect relationship of man and women…” I agree with this because Janie was at her happiest with Tea Cake (Hibben 330). Janie finally feels true love, freedom and happiness with Tea Cake. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great novel to this day, despite the book’s age. It teaches about the culture and language of the characters, and Janie’s rough journey. Janie finally found her horizon after all the time it took to get there. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the most original and unique novels to ever learn about in school. All throughout the chapters you learn about black culture and the dialect that they would share with each other on a day to day basis. This novel is studied in high school and college classes because of its many striking metaphors, dialect, and folklore. The novel is considered a classic because it’s still being used in schools after being published for a long time. There is so much to gain from this novel, it gives off a new sense of hope for the future to whoever reads it.

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