Friday, March 28, 2014

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Today, what I want to talk to you about is a book that I had to read for a course on African American literature, and with which I fell in love with. It a book called "Their eyes were watching God", as the title of my article already shows, and was written by Zora Neale Hurston during a period called the Harlem Renaissance (1930s). It is the story of an African American woman who we see evolving with time. She is first known to us as a naive young girl who believes that marriages is the greatest thing in life and that she'll be the happiest wife once married. But the awful truth begins right then, when she realizes that even a few days after her wedding she still doesn't love her quite aged husband who, by the way, was chosen by her grandmother. She then goes from understanding that she is treated as a house slave by her husband, to running off with a younger man who treats her as a trophy wife and getting in a prestigious life she dreamed of and that she soon starts to hate, to finally run off with an even younger man, when she herself is close to forty years old, who lives a life of bohemia.

Obviously, this is the story about a woman who is eager for freedom and who doesn't want to bow down to any kind of submission that is expected from her. We witness the changes that take place within her, all of which will contribute to her self-awareness and her empowerment. This is a clearly feminist novel, even if it was not presented as such at the time. I find this book great because of the way we are invited to evolve with her and to acknowledge all the things that are not to be accepted as a woman. If you know this novel, or if you ever have the opportunity to read it, you will see that most of what Zora Neale Hurston pointed out and criticized through her protagonist are features that will still see every day, about 90 years later... Now isn't that somewhat disappointing? You'd think that after all this time, and with all the great speeches about the equality of the sexes being an undeniable achievement of this era, that many things would have changed. Well, actually, some did change, but how many stereotypes and preconceptions are still in use today... In the not visible parts of life, like the domestic field, did things change as much as we think (or pretend) they did...? 

Anyway, I highly recommend that you read this book, because as well as being a great story and an incredible source of life changing thoughts, the way it is written is exquisite and feels as authentic as can be. There is also a great movie based on this book with Halle Berry playing the female protagonist!

Have a great day and keep your mind sharp!

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