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The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


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Reader Reviews – Their Eyes Were Watching God


Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel written in 1937 by Zora Neale Hurston, and is not only thought to be a classic of the Harlem Renaissance but is Hurston’s best-known work as well. The novel focuses on a young African-American woman named Janie who battles racism, sexism, and the difficulties of growing up throughout the story. Hurston uses symbolism, character development, setting, tone, and many other literary devices to portray the hardships a young woman must face as she embarks on a journey of love and loss, smiles and tears, and pain mixed with hope. The novel speaks to those who can understand it and makes one question the meaning of life, and what love truly is. 



Janie, the protagonist of the story was raised on the property of a white family by her Grandmother, where she played and was treated like a white woman until she went to school. Her Grandmother’s dying wish is for her to marry a wealthy and successful man, so she sets Janie up with a wealthy man in the neighborhood. With her first husband, she gets into a fight over his perception of women and how they are supposed to be treated. The fight stems from her not wanting to chop the wood pile since she believes women should stay in the kitchen and the house. Right after this fight, she meets Jody, a man who promises to put her on a pedestal and never have her lift a finger. Unsatisfied with her current marriage she agrees and runs off to marry him. This starts a train of failed marriages, as she struggles to find the meaning of love with each new love interest she encounters. At the end of her 3rd and final failed marriage, she finally understands peace and herself.


Who’d I recommend this book to

Anyone who is struggling to find themselves. This book helps put into perspective how love is confusing, and that it’s acceptable not to get it right on the first try. This is definitely a more complex book and if you don’t look into it or see it for the literary elements used, it has the potential to be a confusing read. The language utilized is also very challenging, and if you struggle reading accents, this isn’t for you. Moreover, this is for someone who might be going through a rough relationship or breakup or has witnessed a breakup of a bad relationship a friend has had. It’s also a delightful read for those curious about literature written by African Americans. Their eyes were Watching God is for those with a true love for reading and those willing to sit down and dissect the work’s deeper elements. This book will either have you loving the story or wishing you never picked it up at all, or more commonly a mixture of both.


Reader’s Review

 This book was truly impactful to me and helped me make important connections about life I had not realized before. However, the language in the book is extremely difficult, as the author writes a southern accent. The dialogue becomes difficult to understand, which is unhelpful as more than ⅔ of the book is dialogue. This is a challenging read and although I really enjoyed this book, at times it was hard to make myself understand and continue to read through. Nevertheless, I think that everyone should read this book as it is very eye-opening and great for those who have experienced relationship failures and those getting ready to begin a relationship. Overall I’d rate this book 4 out of 5 stars as it was an inspiring read, but made me want to tear my hair out at certain points.


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