Thursday, July 12, 2012

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Author: Zora Neale Hurston
List: #23 on Radcliffe’s Top 100 20th Century Novels
Worth reading? Yes.

The most remarkable thing about this novel is the intense imagery that Zora Neale Hurston evokes with her use of language. Seemingly without effort, she paints a scene in a way you would not have thought possible but in a way that describes the emotions, like love, or the events, like a hurricane, perfectly. She also draws the reader into the scene by blending the dialect spoken by the characters with the standard English of the narrator. Although I originally found the dialogue difficult to read because I am used to reading very quickly, once I became accustomed to the rhythm of the dialogue I almost felt like I was sitting on the porch listening in on the conservation.

And that conversation told the story of how a woman found herself and learned to follow her heart. It is quite the feminist story. At first, the woman follows the advice of her grandmother, then her husband, then her second husband without taking the action her own heart demands. But in the end, she learns to do what is important to her and what is necessary for her own soul to thrive.

I am not sure I would have found this book on my own, so I am very glad it was included on one of the lists and I recommend reading it if you want something a bit different.

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