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Paper Topic:

Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

In the forward of Zora Neale Hurston 's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God , Mary Helen Washington refers to the .uncritical depiction of violence toward women . Zora Neale Hurston expresses this `uncritical violence toward women because in the beginning of this century such violence was acceptable by women . Not only was it acceptable , but it was the expected life for a woman to lead . Throughout history women bore the brutality of life and all its

harshness . Brutality became such an apparent pattern for women to uphold , that they kept the role of being punching bags for the sake of tradition . Hurston , was relating this idea to her readers in to show them what women have become through the process of this tradition . She conjectures in her book Their Eyes Were Watching God , that violence toward women was the habit of the world

The first signs of the world 's habit is shown when Janie 's grandmother says , De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see (14 . This proves that even women have it in their heads that violence toward women is the appropriate social behavior . Janie 's grandmother had a rough life of her own . The landlord impregnated her and the landlord 's wife said that she would make sure that Janie 's grandmother got one hundred lashes the next day . The landlord 's wife had every right to be upset , after all it was her husband who impregnated Janie 's grandma , but it was not a part in which Janie 's grandmother had any choice over the landlord 's actions . So , the landlord 's wife was justified in beating Janie 's grandmother according to the social hierarchy of the time in that her man betrayed his wedding vows , as Clarke states of a narrative story having imagery such as Hurston 's novel presents (in relation to actions such as these

In so doing , Hurston opens up different ways of conceptualizing the African American experience . Responding to the long history of blacks as spectacle--from slavery to minstrelsy to colonized object--she offers the possibility of reclaiming the visual as a means of black expression and black power . Controlling vision means controlling what we see , how we define the world . Visual power , then , brings political power , since those who determine what is seen determine what exists (Clarke paragraph three Janie 's family seems to have an history of violent acts committed toward them because Janie 's mother is raped , and this is the act which brought Janie into the world . Dat school teacher had done hid her in de woods all night long , and he had done raped mah baby and run on off just before day (18 . The school teacher tried to get to Janie 's mom in to help in any way he could , but the dogs chased him out of town and out of his baby...

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