Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review: Their Eyes were Watching God

Picture taken from through

A book titled Their Eyes were Watching God is a novel written by Nora Neale Hurston, an African-American writer. The novel, which was published in 1937, mainly tells the readers about racisms in the early 1900s. It is narrated by the main character, Janie Crawford, a mullato (child of White and African-American) in her forties.
The story tells about Janie who is telling her friend, Phoeby, about her life. When she is a child, she lives with her nanny (grandma). Her nanny is a slave who became pregnant of her White master and gave birth to her mullato daughter who called Leafy, Janie’s mom. After the end of American Civil War, nanny could find a good home to raise her only daughter, but then her lovely daughter is raped by her teacher and gave birth to Janie.
Leafy seems so depressed with her life and thus she began to be a bad girl, drink and stay out at night. One day, she ran away from home, leaving Janie with Nanny. Nanny won’t her grandchild to feel the same way as she and her daughter, so she starts to raise her by her very best way. She works hard in order to give every good thing for Janie.
When Janie was 16, Nanny red-handed her kissing with a boy named Johnny Taylor. She is so worried that her only grandchild would be a “mule” for boys.
Nanny arranges a marriage for Janie and Logan Killicks, an old farmer. Janie isn’t interested in the arrangement since she highly believes that marriage must involve love. Besides, she feels that Logan needs a farm helper instead of a wife. Janie tells all that she feels to Nanny, but Nanny convinces her that Logan can take care of her as well as Nanny. Shortly afterwards, Nanny died.
One day, Janie meets Jody (Joe) Starks. They go to Eatonville to start a new life. Joe buys more land to build a general store and finally elected as a mayor of the town. Day by day, Janie realizes that Joe always controls her and criticizes her mistakes.
Janie can’t bear when Joe teases her in public that she is being old. She asks him to look back at himself, but it makes him mad and thus he hits Janie as hard as he can. Suddenly, Joe gets sick of his failing illness. He decides to move away and forbids Janie to meet him. Janie meets him only when she feels that Joe might die soon.
Janie has enough wealth after the death of Joe. It makes many men try to get closer with her, one of them is Vergible Woods or Tea Cake. At first, Janie isn’t sure with his affection, but finally she realizes that she loves him. Thus, Janie sells her store and go to Jacksonville with Tea Cake. They are married there before moving to Everglades.
Janie is very happy with her current marriage since she feels a strong love bond between her and her husband as she always wishes. However, one day, Tea Cake gets a disease because he is bitten by a rabid dog while saving her wife from the dog. After that, he increasingly so jealous that he tries to shoot Janie, but she shoots him.
The death of Tea Cake makes Janie gets sentence. Tea Cake’s African-American male friend opposes her at trial, but some White women support her. Finally, all White jury acquits Janie.
Janie decides to return to Eatonville, but she feels uncomfortable because her neighbors are gossiping about her. The story of the novel ends as it starts when Janie tells Phoeby about her life.

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