Their Eyes Were Watching God Research Paper
Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" Research Paper "I am Me, My Eyes Toward God" Mark Evans Zora Neale Hurston an early twentieth century Afro-American feminist author, was raised in a predominately black community which gave her an unique perspective on race relations, evident in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston drew on her on experiences as a feminist Afro-American female to create a story about the magical transformation of Janie, from a young unconfident girl to a thriving woman. Janie experiences many things that make her a compelling character who takes readers along as her companion, on her voyage to discover the mysteries and rewards life has to offer. Zora Neale Hurston was, the daughter of a Baptist minister and an educated scholar who still believed in the genius contained within the common southern black vernacular(Hook http://splavc.spjc.cc.fl.us/hooks/Zora.html). She was a woman who found her place, though unstable, in a typical male profession. Hurston was born on January 7, 1891 in Eatonville, Florida, the first all-incorporated black town in America. She found a special thing in this town, where she said, "... [I] grew like a like a gourd and yelled bass like a gator," (Gale, 1). When Hurston was thirteen she was removed from school and sent to care for her brother's children. She became a member of a traveling theater at the age of sixteen, and then found herself working as a maid for a white woman. This woman saw a spark that was waiting for fuel, so she arranged for Hurston to attend high school in Baltimore. She also attended Morgan Academy, now called Morgan State University, from which she graduated in June of 1918. She then enrolled in the Howard Prep School followed by later enrollment in Howard University. In 1928 Hurston attended Barnard College where she studied anthropology under Franz Boas. After she graduated, Zora returned to Eatonville to begin work on anthropology. Four years after Hurston received her B.A. from Barnard she enrolled in Columbia University to begin graduate work (Discovering Authors, 2-4). Hurston's life seemed to be going well but she was soon to see the other side of reality.
Hurston never stayed at a job for too long, constantly refusing the advances of male employers, which showed part of her strong feminist disposition. But Hurston was still seeking true love throughout her travels and education. At Howard University, Hurston met Herburt Sheen whom she married on May 19, 1927 in St. Augstine, Florida (DA, 2). They divorced shortly after they got married because they could not continue the idealistic dreams they had shared in their youth. Zora Hurston's second marriage to Albert Price III was also short lived. They were married in 1939 and divorced in 1943 (DA, 2). By the mid-1940s Hurston's writing career had began to falter. While living in New York, Hurston was arrested and charged with committing an immoral act with a ten-year-old boy. The charges were later dropped when Hurston proved that she was in another country at the time the incident allegedly took place (Discovering Authors, 3). Hurston already was witnessing the rejection of all of her works submitted to her publisher, but the combined effects of the arrest and the ensuing journalistic attack on her image doomed the majority of her literary career. She wrote to a friend: "I care nothing for writing anything any more... My race has seen fit to destroy me without reason, and with the vilest tools conceived by man so far" (Discovering Authors, 4). In approximately 1950 Hurston returned to Florida, where she worked as a cleaning woman in Rivo Alto. She later moved to Belle Glade, Florida, in hopes of reviving her writing career. She failed and worked as many jobs including: newspaper journalist, librarian, and substitute teacher (Baker, http://www.prodigy.com/ pages.html/chronology.htm). Hurston suffered a stroke in 1959 which demanded her admittance in the Saint Lucie County Florida Welfare Home. She died a broken, penniless, invalid in January 1960 (DA, 5).
All of Hurston's trials built the basis for her best work. Therefore, the work that has denoted her as one of the twentieth century's most influential authors did not come until after