Ten Days. Ten Books: Day Two: Their Eyes Were Watching God

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her.

I read Their Eyes Were Watching God in my first-ever Women’s Studies class. I was nineteen years old and in 10Eyes Watching Godlove with Zora Neale Hurston’s lush prose. Set in rural Florida at the turn of the 20th century, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a most intense and most-er satisfying telling of Janie Crawford’s journey as a beautiful, light-skinned black girl to a woman with agency.

It is not surprising that, commercially, the book did terribly. Hurston and who else cared about the lives of Black women in the late 1930s, when the book was written?

Rediscovered in the 1970s, Their Eyes Were Watching God went on to greatly influence the work of the next wave of African-American writers such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Rita Mae Brown.




Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

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