During last 10 years we can observe the trend of books’ popularization which actually were written a while ago. Zora Neale Hurston is one of such writers. Her book â€œTheir Eyes Were Watching Godâ€ is a good example of how the issues and values which are discussed in the book remain important even now. Moreover, explaining their importance indeed can change the way of thinking which the youth has.
First of all, Zora by herself becomes a great example for all of us. She was a black woman and that could be considered as a double problem at that time: to be black and to be a woman. For sure, Zora felt the pressure, but it still did not change her intention to tell us the story. Moreover, the book is written in Zora’s native dialect which makes the book hard to read. Nevertheless, it brings the feeling of that period, it takes us deep into the book. That is the reason why I consider the dialect as an advantage but not as a disadvantage like critics did.
The story which is presented before us is a story which could be considered a crucial point not only in American history, but also in the world’s one. It was a period during which black people were actually free but the conditions in which they lived were horrible. Women generally had less rights and freedoms than men and if to take into account that the difference between black and white population was hue, we can admit that being a black woman at that times was one of the most difficult challenges.
But now we have different time with different ideas. So what makes Zora’s works worth being read? What values does it have and can it influence the youth somehow?
What is need to be remembered from the very beginning is that Hurston shows not only a life of Janie, but also conditions of society she lived in. the author showed how hard it was for black people at the very beginning, how much they wanted to build cities not because of trying to separate from the world but trying to create a place where they would feel themselves free and equal. Nowadays, black youth does not remember their history and they do not respect the freedom they have. Moreover, Hurston gave an opportunity for white people not to learn the facts from this part of the history but to understand the feelings of the black people of that time, to feel themselves in their shoes.
Telling Janie’s story, Hurston discussed issues which actually are eternal ones: love, fate, society, freedom, jealousy, mortality, pride, dreams, hopes, compassion and many others. Those things were crucial, they are crucial and will be in future as they are an integral part of ourselves.
Â â€œThere was no doubt that the town respected him [Joe] and even admired him in a way. But any man who walks in the way of power and property is bound to meet hateâ€. Here Hurston shows the real life and situation which anyone can meet today: when a person has money and influence he gains a fake respect. It means that people will follow the orders and they will take into account advices from rich people not because they respect the person, but because the person has influence. When the opportunity comes, they will do their best to let that person down.
Moreover, as every young person Janie was looking for freedom. Freedom of control is actually what even adults sometimes looking for. Unfortunately, it was hard for her to find it in marriages. Firstly she was under control and pressure of the first husband and she could not make herself free as she was young and inexperienced. Later she was forced to wear a head-rag as a symbol of Joe’s control, the way in which he wanted to confine her. Only after his death she took it off becoming free at the same time
Probably the most important issue which is discussed by Hudson is love and the inner world of the person. People often feel very disappointed in their life. They think that all the world against them. One phrase in the book actually impressed me and can become a slogan to entire life: â€œSome people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with shipsâ€. I understood it as that there is always something good no matter what happens. Â However, as for me, love remains the most important thing bot for the author and for Janie. There are so many quotes which are presented in the book that it becomes a huge problem to choose one. For Janie love is the most important thing which she is searching for all the time. When she gets it, she does everything to keep it. â€œIf you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at allâ€ â€“ which proof the point of view that only love means everything even if in future I are to die alone.Â Moreover, Hurston discusses not only love between man and woman. She shows the love in family by showing relationship between Nanny and Jamie. Although, Nanny had different ideas and point of view, she still wished all the best to Janie.
Another type of love which is discussed by Hurston is relationship between man and nature. This connection is something what we have forgotten about today. Some of us speak a lot about that we have to save the nature, we have to care about the nature, but indeed no one of us is in real connection which nature. â€œShe knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, “Ah hope you fall on soft ground,” because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passedâ€. Looking closer to the facts, we can see that only nature was a real Janie’s supporter. All the time when she had problems, her inner world was empty or she had to go against her ideas, she was running away â€œto watch Godâ€.
In addition, in the end and in the beginning we notice the phrase said by Janie: â€œI’m watching Godâ€. It took me some time to understand the real meaning of it. I also believe that each of us would have his or her own ideas about its meaning.
As we know, the issue of religion is difficult nowadays. First of all, the diversity of religions divides society. Secondly, the power of the Church and, at the same time, the opportunity to be a guide for people in their lifes decreases day by day. But Hurston has a totally other ideas. Firstly, she points out that she actually believes. In addition, she underlined that God is everywhere: in trees, water, air, sky. That is what can be understood observing the conditions during which Janie said this phrase.
We have already understood that the values brought by Hurston are the common ones, although they remain to be crucial even today. We can point out several main features which will explain why Hurston and her book can influence the youth even now after so many years.
First of all, it shows the history. The history in this book is not just a facts. It actually brings us into that period of time: it helps us not only to listen to the history, understand it, but also to feel it. As the book brings us back into the past it also opens the door to every young person who forgot his history, it reminds us that what we have today is a price for a long fight for freedom.
Secondly, the book shows us that there is no need to give up. Nowadays we have a lot of addicted young people, a lot of suicides, sometime children cannot live without going to psychologists, etc. Janie knew only how to have fun and how to live. That is what we have to understand: sometimes the problems are less than we think they are. Moreover, each problem can be solved.
Finally, the love and religion: each of us has it, but sometimes we do not use it. It is unbelievable, but the value of love and religion is decreasing. People start to think less about their feeling while they think only about money and property. What we need to understand is that when we will be old, money will not take care about us. Love, family and faith are those three values which are to be in our hearts during all our life.
As we can see, each quote and each situation described in the book holds a secret epistle to the reader. I think that it is necessary for young people to read this book and to understand it. This book can change the vision we have about live and make it better in the future.