Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 November 2020

Their Eyes Were Watching God, 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English
Author(s):
Jenny StringerJenny Stringer, John SutherlandJohn Sutherland

a novel by Zora Neale Hurston, published in 1937; it tells the story of an independently minded black woman. As a girl the heroine Janie Crawford is taught by her grandmother to seek more than the life of drudgery that is the usual fate of women in her society. As an adult Janie leaves a loveless marriage to a husband who owns land and joins up with Joe Starks, a confident smooth-talking man who takes her to an all-black Florida town, where he hopes to find an environment where he can achieve independence. Though Joe achieves the kind of self-esteem he desires through becoming the mayor of the town, their marriage proves unfulfilling for Janie. Joe expects her to be subordinate to him and she rebels against this. When he dies she finds greater fulfilment in a third marriage to a younger man, Tea Cake, with whom she falls deeply in love. Her happiness is, however, short-lived. The couple enjoy a brief idyll working in the Florida Everglades, but, fleeing from a hurricane, Tea Cake is bitten by a rabid dog. Driven mad by his illness, he attempts to shoot Janie, who kills him in self-defence; she is tried for murder but acquitted by an all-white jury. Though sometimes melodramatic, ... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.