REVIEW: ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ is the perfect book to immerse yourself in over the holiday
Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 22:12
Looking for a book to read over the holiday break? Look no further than “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.
Written during the Harlem Renaissance, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” is full of meaning, originality and intrigue. It is a book English teachers — and majors — love.
Janie is beautiful. Her father was white and her mother was black, and she was raised by her black grandmother. At a young age, her grandmother sent her off to marry Logan, a man who provides Janie with the financial security that was desirable. Though Logan loves Janie, she doesn’t feel the same for him. When the mighty Joe Starks comes around, she decides to leave Logan and go with him. The runaways marry and find a small town, Eatonville, to call home. Joe — or Jody, as Janie calls him — eventually becomes mayor, powerful and rich. He suppresses Janie’s desires, and from their relationship, Janie eventually learns the power she really has. In Jody’s old age, their relationship is strained and he dies.
Janie, now a widow, is able to take off the headwrap Jody made her wear, bringing every single man in the area to her door. But Janie is deterred by their desire for the money Joe left to her.
But of course, there has to be another love — that would be Tea Cake. Now, Tea Cake is at least 10 years younger than Janie, but he is the one man Janie truly loves. He brings her more freedom than she had previously while married to Jody. From Tea Cake, Janie learns independence and is able to engage in a journey of self discovery. Tea Cake and Janie eventually marry and travel to the Everglades where she finds happiness and is accepted for who she is.
In the Everglades, Tea Cake and Janie get a small house. They work together in the fields and they have a little spat, but there is never a question of their love for each other. A few terrible things happen in the Everglades that will make readers grip the book. A hurricane comes and Tea Cake and Janie and the whole community is forced to run for their lives. Tea Cake and Jane are separated. While Janie finds refuge in a big house, Tea Cake is bitten by a rabid dog and becomes rabid himself. When they make it back to their house, Tea Cake becomes more and more rabid and very dangerous.
Janie grabs the shotgun and shoots Tea Cake. Janie is arrested and given a trial and at that trial, the white judge… I’ll leave that as the synopsis and let you read the book to find out what happens next. I don’t want to ruin that book for you — I’ve said too much as it is.