Their Eyes Were Watching God Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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Among the themes and topics most prevalent in Southern literature are the significance of family, a sense of community and one’s role within it, and the land and the promise it brings. Using the two novels we have studied thus far (Their Eyes Were Watching God and Absalom, Absalom!) and discuss how these two works incorporate two or more of the aforementioned themes/characteristics.

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Absalom, Absalom! focuses on the contradictions of family through the lens of race and class. The Sutpen family has European and African members, but Thomas Sutpen vehemently rejects the idea of having black relatives, even regarding this news as a betrayal. The mixed-race environment of the Caribbean likewise did not suit him, and he becomes determined to conquer the land and make his fortune in Mississippi. Creating a dynasty along with a plantation connects the themes of family and community. However, he can tame the land only with enslaved...

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