Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Essay Options
In a well constructed essay,
please respond to one of the following essay prompts.
1. Trace one of the symbols used throughout the novel. Where does this
symbol show up in the story? What does it symbolize? How does it
function in the story? How does it relate to Janie’s journey?
2. Compare and contrast Janie’s three marriages. What initially pulls her to
each of the three men? How do they differ from one another? What does
she learn from each experience?
3. The role of women is a continuing theme in literature. Write an essay in
which you discuss Janie’s role as a woman at several different points in the
story. Discuss her feelings, her goals, and her frustrations.
4. To what extent does Janie acquire her own voice and the ability to shape
her own life? How are the two related? Does Janie's telling her story to
Pheoby in flashback undermine her ability to tell her story directly in her
own voice? Discuss the points in the novel were Janie stays silent and
when her voice is heard.
5. Janie wears an apron, a head rag, and overalls at the most significant
points in her life. Analyze the way in which her clothing reflects her inner
self and explain how the author uses these articles to convey her thoughts
6. How important is Hurston's use of vernacular dialect to our
understanding of Janie and the other characters and their way of life? What
do speech patterns reveal about the quality of these lives and the nature of
these communities? In what ways are "their tongues cocked and loaded,”
their “only real weapon”?