WHAT IS 'EYES' ABOUT?
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a love story as well as a story of female self-awareness
and emancipation from male dominance, and a chronicle of the conditions of life for black
Americans in early-20th century Florida.
Morrow, who called it “a very, very rewarding read,” said the book may seem a bit difficult
to get into at first, as Hurston incorporated the phonetic spelling of African-American
Southern dialects into her characters’ speech.
But such attention to language was second nature to the author, who was an anthropologist
and a compiler of African-American folk tales, she said.
Although Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God was published after the Harlem Renaissance
was on the wane, as a novel it echoes that era's search for genuine African American voices
in literature. Hurston was also a standout figure in that era, known for her independence
and powerful storytelling. Although she passed away in poverty and obscurity, her work is
now being rediscovered and appreciated as never before.