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Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (Bloom's Reviews) Library Binding – 30 Aug 1996


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Product details

  • Library Binding: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers; Library Binding edition (30 Aug. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 079104520X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791045206
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,276,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' --Zadie Smith --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

* Zora Neale Hurston's masterpiece is perhaps the most widely read and highly regarded novel in the entire canon of African American literature. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Heather Negahdar VINE VOICE on 29 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
"Where's dat blue satin dress she left here in? Where all dat money her husband took and died and left here? What dat ole forty year ole `oman doing wid her hair swingin' down her back lak some young gal?"
I know nothing of Zora Neale Hurston except that she wrote a great classic in Their Eyes Were Watching God sometime in the nineteen thirties.
The books makes its focal point around Janie Crawford, the envy of all other black sisters because of her light skin and her below the waist long hair. A strong and independent Afro-American woman, Janie knows what she wants out of life and leaves her town of Eatonville searching for it; finding herself at the altar on three occasions.
Forced more or less into the first marriage with Logan which did not last longer than a snowball in hell, Janie does her best to be a good wife, but at this stage she is still young and does not understand what is required of her in this unity which is on the verge of breaking down. As this happens, she quickly hooks up with the sweet talking Joe Starks, a man whom she looks up to and who will become the mayor of the small county where they live. Life with Joe Starks is different to the marriage with Logan as all the folks look up to Starks who is responsible, thoroughly arrogant, stubborn and forces his opinions and standards on Janie, like it or not.
But a reprieve comes in Janie Crawford's life after the death of the Mayor, which finds her grown into maturity and with a better comprehension of the world around her, and a better understanding of her desires and how she may acquire this love which has eluded her all these years. From her past experiences Janie reaches out for marriage the third time over with a man twelve years her junior, and this is when she will taste love at its sweetest for the first time, and be acquainted with pain, racial prejudice and great loss. For lovers of classical books, this book comes highly recommended!!!
SUGAR-CANE 28/03/05
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Oct. 1998
Format: Paperback
I teach "Their Eyes" to high school juniors and seniors every semester. Usually, we read it aloud in class to get the full effect of the dialect. What fun! They really get into the story. They argue about whether Janie was a spoiled brat (because she wouldn't help Logan) and wonder why she didn't get rabies from Tea Cake (because he bit her as he died). But mostly they just love the whole love story. On a recent essay, one student wrote, "Janie always kept her door wide open. What she didn't like in her life, she let blow right through. And what she liked, she kept." You gotta love that kind of response as a teacher. It's a wonderful, thought provoking book.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mike Keay on 15 May 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is one of the few that left me with a 'wow' feeling after I finished it. It is hard to describe just how amazing this book is, so I suggest that you read it to find out!

The racism is shocking at times, yet it invites us into the 'porch culture' that is so commonly associated with Black America. The protagonist is Jane, the product of rape by a white school teacher. Her mother runs away, leaving her in the care of her grandmother, who tries to shield her from the strong racism (Janie doesn't even realise she is black until she is 6!) and, wanting the best for her, arranges a marriage when Janie is just 16. Janie struggles but eventually takes her to a man worthy of her love. It is a beautiful tale, full of sadness, yet these downtrodden characters show admirable determination to survive and make the best of life. It is well worth reading, and easy to see how this book provided inspiration for authors such as Toni Morrison!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Hurston tells the story of Janie, a poor black girl whose grandmother, born into slavery, bequeaths her granddaughter the indispensible freedom of marrying a free, moneyed black man before her death, determined that Janie won't suffer as she and her mother did.

Janie, not in the slightest bit grateful for this, suffers differently, wishing to marry for love and find the man who makes her feel free inside. The story chronicles her life through her various loves and is a fascinatingly rich story of a woman's fight to find a personal freedom and sense of self which no amount of money, laws or social standing can bring.

I had never read Hurston before but am a huge fan of Toni Morrison's writing and in reading Hurston it is easy to see the debt that Morrison owes her. Hurston has a fine ear for colloquialisms and the real life of black people in the nineteen thirties. She tells it as it is, and the book is all the richer, more powerful and moving for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dixie Al on 4 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Reading Their Eyes Were Watching God takes us back to simpler times, though not necessarily easier ones. Being a Southerner myself, I find it easy to read the dialect of the characters; non-Southerners might struggle. One can easily see how Alice Walker delighted in Zora Hurston's playful use of words, and how it led her to become Hurston's literary daughter. Front porch life on the village store of Eatonville, Florida, is laugh-out-loud wonderful as rocking chair denizens play the dozens. Janey's life, however, goes from good to bad under the thumb of her Lord Mayor husband until she catches the eye of Tea Cake. There is much to love about Hurston's books, especially this one, and I would recommend it for anyone wanting a historic taste of black Southern life.
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