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Their Eyes Were Watching God. By Zora Neale Hurston. THEMES/SYMBOLS. THE PEAR TREE—trees are symbolic in this novel, and central to the themes of love and identity. TWO leaves--on each leaf, define for yourself the following: IDENTIFY (yellow)— Who am I? Who do I want to be?

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Their Eyes Were Watching God


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their eyes were watching god

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

themes symbols
THEMES/SYMBOLS
  • THE PEAR TREE—trees are symbolic in this novel, and central to the themes of love and identity.
  • TWO leaves--on each leaf, define for yourself the following:
    • IDENTIFY (yellow)—Who am I? Who do I want to be?
    • LOVE (green)—What is love?
marriage
MARRIAGE
  • Janie Crawford’s idea of marriage quickly shifts in the first few chapters of this novel, as she kisses her first boy (Johnny Taylor) and marries her first two husbands (Logan Killicks and Joe Starks).
  • Focusing on Chapters 1-4, answer the following questions (handout—mark key passages to use for paragraph):
    • How does Jannie define marriage? How does that view of marriage evolve?
  • Write a well-developed paragraph, meeting the following criteria:
    • TOPIC SENTENCE
    • TWO EXAMPLES from the novel for support
    • CONCLUDING SENTENCE
important quotes
IMPORTANT QUOTES
  • “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon…Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” (Ch. 1, page 1)
    • Each pair will choose a quote from Chapters 2-11.
    • On your note card (front), write the quote with chapter and page number.
    • On the back, answer the following question: Why do you think this quote is significant?
plot summary
PLOT SUMMARY
  • What is the POINT of VIEW of this novel? Do you think this is effective? Why or why not?
  • Why tell the story in the form of a FLASHBACK? Hurston reveals that Teacake is dead. Why do this?
  • Who are the MAIN CHARACTERS?
    • What role do the women on the porch play?
    • How would you describe Janie’s three husbands? How do they change and shape her?
plot summary1
PLOT SUMMARY
  • What is Janie’s main PROBLEM (CONFLICT)?
  • DISCUSSION of IMPORTANT QUOTES
  • THEMES
    • TOPICS: IDENTITY, LOVE, MARIAGE and DREAMS
    • What universal statements do you think Hurston is trying to make about the above topics?
  • SYMBOLS
    • PEAR TREE (pg 10, 12, 14, 16,
      • Janie’s mom named Leafy—why might this be significant?
    • MULE (pg 14, 23, 29, 41, 58)
    • DRESS/HAIR (pg 4, 55)
    • “I god” (pg 35, 50)—Joe Starks often begins a statement with this phrase. Why is it significant?