Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

Details Their Eyes Were Watching God

TitleTheir Eyes Were Watching God
Release DateMay 30th, 2006
GenreClassics, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Academic, School, Cultural, African American

Reviews Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Emily May
    Janie saw her life like a giant tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches. I've spent many years wanting to read this book, but also not wanting to read it because the title made me think it was going to be heavy on religion, which is something I generally avoid in books. It's not, though. It's a wonderful, lyrical tale of a woman's life and search for independence.Now I'm fas...
  • Jesse (JesseTheReader)
    I have mixed feelings on this book. On one hand I loved the writing style and I loved the main character and following her journey through life's struggles. On the other hand it was slow moving, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I felt things could've been cut to keep the story moving better. I understand why this is such a well loved classic, but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped to! :(
  • Michael Finocchiaro
    I read this masterpiece for the first time in high school. The love story of Janie and Tea Cake is one of stupendous beauty. Zora Neal Hurston's text is a treasure:"So she went on thinking in soft, easy phrases while all around the house, the night time put on flesh and blackness."Early in life, Janie is taken care of by her grandmother Nanny,"Every tear you drop squeezes a cup uh blood outa mah heart"As she grew, "Janie waited for a bloom time, ...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”Dey gointuh make ‘miration ‘cause mah love didn’t work lak they love, if dey ever had any. Then you must tell ‘em dat love ain’t somethin’ lak uh grindstone dat’s de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore.”Janie Crawford knows about love. She knows how lif...
  • Fabian
    A story as melancholic for its relationship to the writer's own life/destiny as another Southern masterpiece "Confederacy of Dunces." I cannot imagine that this isn't Toni Morrison's true foundations of prose--the beauty of which borders on the sublime. The modernism of "Their Eyes" lies in the intermixing of 1930's black vernacular with poetic lines which themselves carry astute and precise craft--this is outstanding. Lightning in a bottle--that...
  • Samadrita
    Here is a woman who led a wretched life for years, doomed to stagnate in the drab depths of oblivion even after her death which had gone under the radar and generated no nostalgia-soaked, emotional obituaries. She lay in an unmarked grave in the Garden of Heavenly Rest, Florida, treated by her own contemporaries like an outcast because of a difference in perspectives, to be resuscitated and acknowledged as one of the foremost powerful voices that...
  • Michael
    Written in lush prose that blossoms around lines of vernacular dialogue, Their Eyes Were Watching God follows Janie Crawford as she wades through three turbulent marriages toward a state of financial and emotional independence. The story begins at its end, with a forty-something Janie returning to her old town after years spent elsewhere; her best friend Pheoby calls upon her, and Janie begins to recount her many travels and experiences to Pheoby...
  • AJ Griffin
    Another "I don't remember it very well, but I know I liked it" story. Here's what I do recall:A) The main character was a woman, and she had something like 3 lovers throughout the book. Saucy.B) One of these dudes was named either Teabag, Cornbread, Teabread, or Breadbag. Or something. C) There was some issue with the weather towards the end.D) Zora Neal Hurston got arrested for fucking a kid, or something (I guess that wasn't really in the book,...
  • Robin
    I was prepared, based on the many five star reviews for this novel by many of my esteemed Goodreads friends, for a worthy book. I was prepared, based on its 1937 publishing date and its setting of Eatonville, Florida and then the Everglades, that important racial themes would be present. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was to be knocked over completely by the shimmering, feathery-fine, poetic prose. I wasn't prepared to be told a courageous,...
  • Lisa
    "Love is like the sea. It's a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and it's different with every shore." In the beginning, there was Nanny. Nanny knew what it meant to be a slave to men. And Nanny had a daughter. She saw what happened to her, how she chose to escape pain in oblivion. And Nanny was scared. She was so scared that she wanted to prevent the same thing from happening to her daughter's daughter, ...
  • Diane S ☔
    When I was in school we were given a choice to read Soul on Ice, Johnny got his gun or this book. I choose Johnny, a book that haunts me to this day. Hurston's book always remained in the back of my mind, though I can't help but wonder if I would have appreciated it back then as much as I did now.I did find the dialect difficult at times, but I found if I read it out loud it made more sense. Of course my husband thought I was demented, but he oft...
  • Melissa Rudder
    When I teach Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, I tell my students the Alice Walker headstone story and teach the book as a Black Feminist novel that is far, far ahead of its time. I noticed this year that my introduction made my students expect the protagonist, Janie, to jump from the novel's pages as a woman warrior, take no shit from anyone, and--I don't know--burn her bra. But the real beauty of Hurston's novel is that her her...
  • Tara
    I recently reread this book, in February 2011 and wrote a new review. It's a lengthy review, but I learned a lot on the second reading, hence the length. I posted that review on my blog, so here's the link: http://left-handedright-brained.blogs.... ***I decided to remove the original review I posted for this book due to the new review I wrote in February 2011. The original review I posted for this book is no longer how I feel about the book and t...
  • Kevin Ansbro
    Zora Neale Hurston was born to write.This 1930s deeply human story of one indefatigable black woman's life, loves and catastrophes dazzled and delighted me from start to finish.It was apparently written in a hurry and the story does have a breakneck feel to it. Characterful expressions burst from its pages; the syncopated, lively dialogue of the black people of the day is lush and gorgeous to read.But please don't accept my effusive review as a r...
  • Amanda
    Another book that I recently re-read that stands up well to a second reading. Hurston's novel, unlike many classics, is as impressive and as relevant today as it was when written.Hurston's story of Janie, a fair-skinned black woman caught in the time period between the end of slavery and the civil rights movement, is the first woman in her family who has the opportunity to be defined as something other than property. Despite this, Janie is unable...
  • Beverly
    Talking about what a revelation this book was to me with a girlfriend, I told her this is essentially a feminist novel that was published in 1937. Gone With the Wind was published in 1936, so this was what shook me to my core. Here is Thurston with her main character, Janie, not content with what others have decided for her; she will live her life on her own terms and decide for herself. It is truly a modern idea. Unlike Gone With the Wind (which...
  • Matthew
    There are two ways to approach this book:1. Enjoy the writing! Take in the dialect and try to put yourself in the atmosphere that is created by Hurston’s fantastic prose and poetry. (Side note: The audio version narrated by Ruby Dee only makes this better)2. While reading, think about this as more of a historical fiction story. Take a moment to read a bit about the South between the Civil War and World War I. How does the end of slavery and the...
  • Dolors
    “To meet as far this morning From the world as agreeing With it, you and I Are suddenly what the trees tryTo tell us we are: That their merely being there Means something; that soon We may touch, love, explain.” Some Trees by John Ashberry.Janie returns to Eatonville with the sunbeams glowing on her shoulders giving her the appearance of a luminescent and almost unearthly goddess whose bare feet voluptuously caress the dusty road. Women on...
  • Chloe
    You know those books that sit on your shelf and mock you for being too hesitant to pick them up? We all have them. They sit there, perched on the edge of the shelf like hooligans on a stoop tossing out insults to passersby and just daring them to pick them up and give 'em a spin. For me, Their Eyes Were Watching God was the ringleader of my abusive books. It would yell vicious things at me as I sat near the shelf and once, in collusion with my lo...
  • LeAnne: GeezerMom
    I am not African American, and no matter what genuine empathy is in my heart, there is no way a white woman can truly understand the life experiences and the collective family experiences of my girlfriends and guy friends who are in fact black. But reading this classic by Zora Hurston let me pretend to do so for a while.Wow, what a book! When Ms. Hurston, born in 1891 ,wrote this, she had already attended Howard University and Barnard College stu...
  • Perry
    A Classic That Hasn't Finished Saying What It Has to Say Seeing Within You More than Before Their Eyes Were Watching God should be more highly revered as an American classic. Italo Calvino defined a "classic" as "a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.” The current racial turmoil brewing in the United States today leaves no doubt that this Zora Neale Hurston classic still hasn't finished saying what it has to say. Ms. Hurston'...
  • Alisa
    I hate, hate hated this book, and I really can't explain WHY very well, but I'll try.It was well written, the metaphors, etc were good (I read it for an English class so I know ALL about the metaphors), the characters were well rounded, it IS a really fine example of Hurston's work. What I hated was the forward in the particular version I read. It was about a conference of women who loved the book or something, and one lady just went on and on ho...
  • Lawyer
    Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston's Novel of an Independent Woman"Dat's all right, Pheoby, tell 'em. Dey gointuh make 'miration 'cause mah love didn't work lak they love, if dey ever had any. Then you must tell 'em dat love ain't somethin' lak uh grindstone dat's de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it mee...
  • Hugh
    I'll start by thanking Zadie Smith - her introduction to this edition is also the first essay in her collection Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, which I read earlier this year. Hurston was not talked about when I was at school and I knew nothing of her or this book before reading the essay, but it was enough to persuade me that I had to read the book. Smith says "There is no novel I love more", and that kind of hyperbole creates very high exp...
  • Amanda
    This book was so powerful and so beautiful. I will be haunted by Janie and Tea Cake for awhile. I first started this in print and was struggling to get into it because I was having trouble with the dialect. It made me feel like I was just learning to read and I found I was concentrating more on the words than the story but about 25 pages in I switched to the audible version narrated by Ruby Dee and oh my gosh she was amazing. She brought this sto...
  • Cathrine ☯️
    4“Uh woman by herself is uh pitiful thing,” she was told over and over again. “Dey needs aid and assistance. God never meant ‘em tuh try tuh stand by theirselves.” But our protagonist Janie Crawford is determined to “find out about livin’ fuh [herself]."After reading the two forewords explaining the literary history of this novel, and upon completion, I have come to regard this as the little book that could. —After publication it ...
  • Paul
    This is a wonderful novel and I would recommend it. The speech is not easy to follow initially, but is easy to get the hang of if you persist and is well worth the effort.The story of the life and loves of Janie Crawford; told in her own words and in a strong clear voice. It has had a mixed history in terms of reviews. Ralph Ellison criticised its “calculated burlesque” and others regarded it as not being serious fiction. Then there was the d...
  • ·Karen·
    Oh dear, I was just about to start my review by saying how I enjoyed the richness of the language in this novel until my GR friend Michele provided me with this quote from the Encyclopedia of African American Women:--White reviewers, often ignorant of black culture, praised the richness of her language but misunderstood her work and characterized it as simple and unpretentious.Does that condemn me as a white person who is ignorant of black cultur...
  • Aubrey
    4.5/5 She had been getting ready for her great journey to the horizons in search of people; it was important to all the world that she should find them and they find her. But she had been whipped like a cur dog, and run off down a back road after things. What do you live for? Love? Security? Money? Hope? There's something to said for any of them in every combination with one another, the melding usually a three of the four legs of a stool that is...
  • Chrissie
    This is a book about Janie Crawford—a black woman of “coffee and cream complexion”. It is a story of historical fiction set in Florida during the first three decades of the 1900s. It is about being a black woman. It is about self- discovery and about love. The story reads as one long extended flashback as Janie, in her forties, talks to her best friend Pheoby Watson. We follow Janie from her youth growing up under the care of her beloved na...