Voice And Language In Their Eyes Were Watching God

3046 words - 12 pages

Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God

 
   In one way or another, every person has felt repressed at some stage during their lives. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about one woman's quest to free herself from repression and explore her own identity; this is the story of Janie Crawford and her journey for self-knowledge and fulfillment.  Janie transforms many times as she undergoes the process of self-discovery as she changes through her experiences with three completely different men. Her marriages serve as stepping-stones in her search for her true self, and she becomes independent and powerful by overcoming her fears and learning to speak in her own, unique voice. Zora Neale Hurston effectively shows Janie's transformation throughout the book by means of language and her development of Janie's voice through the different stages of her life. Her use of free indirect discourse exemplifies Janie's power in overcoming oppression, realizing her own potential, and emerging as an individual.

Throughout the novel, Hurston's intertwining of the black vernacular (in the

form of direct discourse in quoted text) and Standard English (in the form

of indirect discourse in third person unquoted text) creates a seamless,

fluid narration which provides insight into Janie's soul on two levels.  This

combination of the two seemingly dichotomous aspects of language is called

free indirect discourse (also called "speakerly text") 1.  Through free

indirect discourse, Hurston is able to effectively express Janie's inner and

outer voices (which become stronger throughout the novel) as she develops

through a series of relationships and acquires greater self-identity.

 

Before Janie's marriages, she lacks a sense of identity, which Hurston

reveals early in the novel.  The scene where she is shown a photograph of

her and with "white family" symbolizes her lack of self-knowledge - she does

not even recognize herself in the picture, because she does not even know

she is black.  Janie's first movement toward self-awareness occurs shortly

thereafter, when she becomes fascinated by the blooming of leaf buds under

the pear tree.  Here, Hurston uses the third-person narrative in a speaker's

voice that invites the reader into Janie's soul.  For example, the narrative

voice portraying the "pear tree" incident seems to have a nature somewhat

intimate to Janie's:

 

the rose of the world was breathing out smell.  It followed her through all

her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep.  It connected itself with

other vaguely felt matters that had struck her outside observation and

buried themselves in her consciousness.  (24).

 

 

Hurston brilliantly combines an intimate voice with the omniscience of a

third-person narrator for a vivid denotation of the beginning of Janie's

maturity and the initial stage in her...

Find Another Essay On Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

2021 words - 8 pages Throughout the movie of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Oprah Winfrey alternates Zora Neale Hurston’s story of a woman’s journey to the point where nobody even recognizes it. The change in the theme, the characters, and their relationships form a series of major differences between the book and the movie. Instead of teaching people the important lessons one needs to know to succeed in this precious thing called life, Oprah tells a meaningless love

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

949 words - 4 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God An Analysis So many people in modern society have lost their voices. Laryngitis is not the cause of this sad situation-- they silence themselves, and have been doing so for decades. For many, not having a voice is acceptable socially and internally, because it frees them from the responsibility of having to maintain opinions. For Janie Crawford, it was not: she finds her voice among those lost within the pages

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1310 words - 6 pages , Their Eyes Were Watching God, features a charismatic young woman who learns that love is not what you can physically take from a relationship but, a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person (Merriam). The story takes place in Eatonville, Florida, where the protagonist of the story, Janie Crawford, returns from an extensive departure. Janie is immediately looked down upon and judged by the fellow townspeople, based on her outward

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1672 words - 7 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God Often in stories of self-realization and self-love, there is an incident that is often overlooked. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, such is the case. While many people tend to believe that Janie’s relationship with Teacake was the central time when she realized who she was, Her marriage with Joe Starks is often ignored in the big picture. Janie realized what she didn’t want and not to settle and that

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1733 words - 7 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Report 1. Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God 2. Author/Date Written: Zora Neale Hurston/1937 3. Country of Author: 4. Characters Janie Mae Crawford- The book’s main character. She is a very strong willed, independent person. She is able to defy a low class, unhappy life because of these factors, even though the environment that she grew up and lived in was never on her side. Pheoby Watson – Janie’s best

Their Eyes Were Watching God - 2108 words

2108 words - 8 pages Theyre Eyes Were Watching God A Voice With Experience In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, many critics have argued over whether or not the main character, Janie, finds her voice by the end of the novel. Yet many seem to be confused as to what her "voice" is. Her voice is her ability to express her thoughts and display her emotions verbally. Many relate the question of Janie’s voice to her amount of

Their Eyes Were Watching God

664 words - 3 pages Throughout life, everyone goes through a period of self-searching. There is a common desire to discover ourselves so that we have a fulfilling life. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston presents the reader with Janie, a woman in search of herself and love. Hurston uses imagery and figurative language to show how defiant and lonely Janie was. This passage shows the defiance Janie felt towards her grandmother and towards people on

Their Eyes Were Watching God - 1016 words

1016 words - 4 pages Janie's entire life is one of a journey. She lives through a grandmother, three husbands, and innumerable friends. Throughout is all, she grows closer and closer to her ideals about love and how to live one's life. Zora Neale Hurston chooses to define Janie not by what is wrong in her life, but by what is good in it. Janie changes a lot from the beginning to the end of Their Eyes Were Watching God, but the imagery in her life always conjures

Their Eyes Were Watching God -

918 words - 4 pages three marriages she has. In each marriage she learns valuable lessons, has progressively better relationships, and realizes how a person is to live his or her life. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie's marriages to Logan Killicks, Jody Starks, and Tea Cake seem like the most crucial elements in her development as a woman.Throughout the story Hurston uses different men to portray the continuum that men fall into in their

Their Eyes Were Watching God

725 words - 3 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that presents a happy ending through the moral development of Janie, the protagonist. The novel divulges Janie’s reflection on her life’s adventures, by narrating the novel in flashback form. Her story is told to Janie’s best friend Phoebe who comes to learn the reason of Janie’s arrival back to Eatonville. By writing the novel in this style they witness Janie’s childhood, marriages, and life following

Their Eyes Were Watching God - 6160 words

6160 words - 25 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God Theme Many times the love that a person is looking for is the one that a person doesn't realize. Setting The author begins and ends the book on a porch where Janie is telling her story to her friend Pheobe Watson. The book begins in the morning on the porch and then ends at night, symbolic of beginning and end. In between these two times Janie is telling her story which travels through the state of Florida

Similar Essays

Theme Of Voice In Their Eyes Were Watching God

2161 words - 9 pages Breaking Through In the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" written by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie the protagonist is seen by critics as having no voice. For all women silence knows no boundaries of race or culture, and Janie is no exception. Hurston characterizes Janie with the same silence that women at that time & period were forced into, (complete submission.) "Women were to be seen and not heard." Janie spends forty years of her

Janie In Their Eyes Were Watching God

1027 words - 4 pages Missing Works Cited "Dey all useter call me Alphabet 'cause so many people had done named me different names," Janie says (Hurston 9). The nickname "Alphabet" is fitting in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God because Janie is always changing and rearraging, never the same. Janie Crawford was constantly searching for happiness, self-realization, and her own voice. Janie dares not to fit the mold, but rather defy it to get what

Essay On The Voice Of Janie In Their Eyes Were Watching God

1959 words - 8 pages The Powerful Voice of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God The world of Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God was one of oppression and disappointment. She left the world of her suffocating grandmother to live with a man whom she did not love, and in fact did not even know. She then left him to marry another man who offered her wealth in terms of material possessions but left her in utter spiritual poverty. After her second

Janie's Voice In "Their Eyes Were Watching God" By Zora Neale Hurston

1587 words - 6 pages In the 19th century and early 20th century woman were silenced and didn't have a voice. In "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, the central character Janie Crawford was not exempt from the lack of rights for women. Hurston portrays Janie with the same suppression similar to the women in that era. Women were to be seen (looking beautiful) and not heard. The majority of the novel Janie is silenced and subjected to, first, Logan