Explained Styles & Tones Of Their Eyes Were Watching God
“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.” (pg.1, par.1) and so begins the powerful story of Janie Crawford, along with the author’s menagerie of different styles and tones. These tones and styles set the stage for Zora Neale Hurston’s major themes, all of which were strongly introduced and defended throughout the novel. Hurston’s themes vary from sexism, to dialogue, and to religion; which during her time were extremely prudent issues to the U.S. and even a few other countries. However, her approach to these issues, though strong, is quite different from that of similar novelists of the time period. Her unusual way of portraying issues throughout this book gives her writing a sense of mysterious intellect; so much so one won’t fully understand it until they have finished the entire novel.
This starting paragraph for example, “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 the horizon… Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget… Then they act and do things accordingly.” (pg.1 par.1) Two important pieces of writing come into play in this first paragraph; the biggest most likely being Hurston’s first use of the word ‘horizon’ which recurs again and again as the novel persists. The second important item is the start of Hurston’s opinion of sexism; which of course sounds nothing like the usual opinion of ‘equality’ her time boasts. No, she starts out from the very beginning describing the crucial differences between men and women. She continues to describe, through each relationship had by Janie, that men and women need different things from each other to be ‘equal’, and that without those there is also no relationship between men and women to begin with to make ‘inequality’.
In this book, Hurston’s word ‘horizon’ is a very intimate term which, overall, is used to describe one’s inner peace and fulfillment in his (or her) own life. In the first paragraph of the book it means that a man’s wish can stay forever out of his grasp, only because he is not at peace with his life. Either he has experienced things in previous times of his life, thus altering a former mindset that disallows him to grasp for his dreams. Either that or he has a voracious hunger for material worth and can’t see past it to true happiness. Instances for both of these cases reside within Jody and Nanny; though not male, Nanny still grasps for a horizon she has been deprived of because of her harsh life as a slave and what it has done to warp her priorities of happiness. Jody is another prime example as one who is controlled mostly by his greed for worldly wealth; instead of developing the relationship he has with Janie he tries to constantly control it.
In fact, while first meeting Jody, the narrator says “he spoke for far horizon” (pg.29, par.3). It is important to...