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Imagery In "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

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Imagery In "Their Eyes Were Watching God" - Page Text Content

BC: Imagery 2010

FC: Imagery in "Their Eyes were watching God" | Julia JaganNATH

1: Great authors use imagery to allow readers to see emotions through text. Certain symbols represent emotions that the author is trying to portray. Imagery plays a major role in the story, "Their Eyes Were Watching God". The author, Zora Neale Hurston, uses certain objects to represent certain ideas with which the main character deals. Hurston uses imagery throughout the book which allows the reader to get a better understanding of the emotion she is trying to convey.

3: An author may use a dove to symbolize the feeling of peace. Descriptive words are used to show the reader why a dove is symbolizing peace. For instance, a sentence could say, "The dove flew off into the sunset with nothing holding it back. Its wings flapped against the wind with no struggle, but calm serenity. The bird was at peace." These sentences allow the reader to visualize the concept of peace as represented by a dove.

4: Zora Neale Hurston was the author of the book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God". She was born January 7th, 1891. She claimed she was born in Eatonville, Florida, but she was actually born in Notasulga, Alabama. She completed her undergraduate education at Howard University. Hurston became a folklorist, anthropologist, and a novelist. She was a black woman in the time period where segregation and Jim Crow Laws controlled society.

6: In the 1930's blacks had barely any rights and were treated poorly. The book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", took place in the 1930's. The story talks about the treatment of blacks and how no respect was given to them. Black women were treated the worst, however. If black women were slaves, they were likely to be raped by their owner. They were rarely shown respect from their husbands, either. Hurston, the author of the book, uses imagery to portray the society in which the main character, Janie, is forced to live. Hurston uses the image of a mule to represent how women were treated. The mule is referred to in a symbolic way throughout the book. Hurston explains how women were treated like mules and how this relates to the society in which the book took place.

8: Society plays a major role in the book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God". Segregation and women's rights also have an impact on the story's dialogue. Nanny, the main character's grandmother says, "De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see." (Hurston 14) Nanny tells Janie this because Janie is unhappy about being forced off into a marriage where she will be a worker, instead of being a wife and being loved the way she wants to be loved. Nanny is saying that women do not have rights. They are the workers. She is saying that women do as they are told, and they do it without resistance. Hurston is using the image of a mule to represent the hardship that women endure. A mule is a perfect example of imagery because women and mules are both workers. They are under ownership, doing as they are told. They are forced into labor without a say.

10: Janie's first husband makes a statement that really shows how poorly women were treated. He says, "You ain't got no particular place. It's wherever Ah need yuh. Git uh move on yuh, and dat quick." (Hurston 31) This quote really defines the treatment of women by their husbands. Logan, Janie's first husband, is saying, "You do as I say. Whatever I want you to do, you will do it without a complaint." This quote can reflect back to the image of a mule. Janie is being told what to do just like a mule. Hurston is trying to evoke the image of women being pulled around and yanked like a mule on a leash.

12: Everybody has a special goal that he or she strives to have. Goals motivate people to go after the dream that they so desire. Hurston uses a certain image to show Janie, the main character's dreams and goals. Hurston uses the image of a horizon to represent her aspirations. The image of the horizon describes her goals because like goals, the horizon is endless. It seems miles away, yet people still strive to reach the horizon; they still strive to reach their goals.

14: The beginning of the story starts out with a quote that foreshadows what is soon to come. The book starts out by saying, "For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dream mocked to death by time." (Hurston 1) This quote is saying that some people continue to pursue their goals, but others just quit. This relates back to the horizon image because ships sail toward the horizon in hope of reaching it; others just quit for it is too far away.

16: In the book, Janie's grandmother, Nanny, crushes Janie's dream. In the story, the narrator says, "But Nanny belonged to that other kind that loved to deal in scraps. Her Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon-for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you-and pinched it in to such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter's neck tight enough to choke her." (Hurston 89) Janie is talking about how her grandmother has crushed her only goal in life and practically strangled her because she forced her to marry someone she did not love, and love was the goal she was searching for. Using the image of a pinched horizon to symbolize Janie's lost goals is a perfect example because it allows the reader to relate to the image.

18: Janie is determined to reach the goal of finding love. In the story it says, "She had been getting ready for her great journey into the horizons in search of people." (Hurston 89) This relates back to the horizon image because she is about to go off into the horizon. She is not going to stop even though the horizon is beyond her. She is in search of her true love, and she is going to go out and find it. This quote shows Janie's determination towards her goals and aspirations, and shows the reader how a simple goal can drive a person to great measure.

20: At the end of the book, Janie tells her best friend a quote that allows the book to come full circle. Janie says, "Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparison." (Hurston 192) What she is trying to say is she has achieved her goals and now she is back. She is comparing everything she learned while at the horizon to her present day life. This shows the reader that if a person perseveres, he or she achieve what he or she desires most in life.

22: In the last three sentences of the book, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", the narrator says, "She pulled in her horizon like a great fish net." (Hurston 93) In this quote Janie is saying that she finally reached her goals. Instead of always chasing the horizon, she is bringing it back to her. She achieved the dream she longed to have. She is no longer on the journey to the horizon, because the horizon has come to her.

24: Most girls want that perfect relationship. Most girls want to find that special guy who is considered their "Knight in shining armor." In the story, "Their Eyer Were Watching God", the main character, Janie, wants to find her perfect man. She uses a blossoming tree to represent the image of love. Love to Janie is like a blossoming pear tree. This image is used throughout the book to describe Janie's multiple relationships. She is looking for a relationship that will blossom with time in to something beautiful.

26: Janie talks about what she wants out of her marriages. Janie says, "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think Ah.." (Hurston 26) Janie wants a relationship that blossoms like the pear tree. She does not want a forced marriage where no love occurs. She wants there to be love, compassion and the sweetness in her relationships just like a blossoming tree possess the sweetness in life. This quote allows the readers to understand the fact that Janie just wants to find love. Her desire to have a perfect marriage is what allows her to follow her dream, her dream to find love.

29: When Janie is forced to marry her first husband, Logan, she makes a statement showing the reader that Logan is the complete opposite of her love image. She says, "It was a lonely place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had ever been." (Hurston 21) This quote shows that Logan was no where near to the image of a blossoming tree. Logan said he loved her, but he expected her to work and be like a beast of burden instead of being a wife. That was never Janie's dream though, Janie wanted love, and Logan was like a stump. He could not blossom into something beautiful like Janie so desired. He would only be a stump because he did not show the compassion she longed for.

30: Midway through the book, Janie meets Tea Cake who truly represents her image of a blossoming pear tree. Janie says, "He looked like the love thought of women. He could be a bee to a blossom-a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps." (Hurston 106) This quote really shows that Janie has found someone that represented the pear tree. Tea Cake loved Janie, and love is all Janie wanted out of her life. When she says this quote, she compares him to a pear tree. He blossoms in the spring. His aroma is sweet and loving. Instead of Janie having a marriage like a pear tree, she fell in love with the pear tree itself. She fell in love with Tea Cake.

32: Certain images can represent various aspects of my life. My personality and my life can be described by the images of a puppy, a solid brick, and a hummingbird. These images represent three large categories. These images of me represent the busyness of my life, the need to be with others, as well as the ability to be independent and the support I give to others. These images all represent different aspects of my personality.

34: A humming bird is an image that represents the busyness in my life. The humming bird's lifestyle is hectic and always on the move, just like my own. The humming bird is a diligent worker who swiftly moves from flower to flower trying to go everywhere it can possibly go to reach its goal. The humming bird is just like me because I am a diligent worker, and I try and go to as many destinations as possible. I enjoy going to new places that will help me achieve my goals, just like the humming bird enjoys flying to destinations that allows itself to reach its goal of nectar. The humming bird shows great determination, which describes my life and my personality because I am determined to do what ever it takes to reach my goals. I am motivated and full of energy just like the humming bird.

36: Puppies, just like any new born animal, want to be loved and included in the pack. Puppies are also curious which describes my personality completely. I enjoy being in a pack of friends, just like a new born puppy enjoys being with its mother and siblings. A new born puppy also represents me because just like a new born puppy fears abandonment, I too have the fear of abandonment. Puppies are also curious about the world they have just been introduced to. I am a curious person as well. Puppies are energetic and full of life, which is how I act. I enjoy investigating new things and seeing where new doors lead to.

38: The support of a brick house starts with one brick. A brick represents me in a sense because I am the support block for my friends. I stick through the rough times and hardships, but in the end I am always right there supporting. The brick also represents strength. Personally, I have the strength both mentally and physically. I have the strength to help my friends through good and bad, just like the brick has the strength to support the weight of a house. Many bricks make up a structure which is like me because I am part of a bigger group. I am the brick itself because I embody all the traits the brick has.

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40: Imagery allows the reader to understand what emotions the author is trying to convey. Images can represent certain issues in life. In the story, "Their Eyes Were Watching God", the author, Zora Neale Hurston, uses imagery to represent the serious conflicts that occur in the story. Hurston describes the treatment of woman as represented by the image of a mule. Hurston's images allow the reader to engage in the hardship by using descriptive languages to allow a clearer picture of how women were treated. Hurston also uses the image of a horizon to express the main character's goals in life. She talks about how far away the horizon is, but also how goals and dreams are always obtainable if motivation and determination are involved. Hurston uses a blossoming tree to represent the loving relationship that the main character, Janie, sought throughout the book. She talks about how she wants things to be sweet and loving, just like the smell of the blossoming tree in spring. Hurston's writing touches the heart of many because she uses the images that represent serious topics that are meaningful to many. The images she uses engage the reader, and make up a fantastic story.

41: Bibliography | Flickr. 2010. Yahoo! Inc. Apr. 2010 . Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. J.B. Lippincott, INC, 1937. "About Zora Neale Hurston." Zora Neale Hurston. 2007. Sonnet Media LLC. 2 apr. 2010 . See extra page*

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Julia Jagannath
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  • Title: Imagery In "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
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  • Published: about 8 years ago