What is the author's attitude in Their Eyes Were Watching God ?  Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In her piece "How It Feels to Be Colored Me," Zora Neale Hurston writes,

BUT I AM NOT tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. I do not be long to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all but about it. Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more of less. No, I do not weep at the world.  I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

This is very same attitude that Miss Hurston conveys in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.  At another point Hurston writes, "At certain times, I have no race, I am me."  And, it is this search for self that Janie engages in during the narrative of Hurston's novel.  For, Janie must separate herself from her first two husbands who wish her identity to be derived from theirs only.  Instead of being merely a servant for her old husband, Logan Killicks, and an ornament, whose beauty must be hidden from other men for Joe Starks, Janie finally finds her own consciousness after meeting Tea Cake, who treats her as an equal.

After Tea Cake's tragic death, Janie, now in the bloom of true womanhood, returns to her hometown after having been acquitted of her mercy killing of Tea Cake, who raged at her. Janie, like Hurston, has found her voice and she feels the "kiss of Tea Cake's memory" upon her and finds peace.  Clearly, Zora Neale Hurston's perspective is reflected in this Janie, who comes to a consciousness of her own as a black woman.

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