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

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Compare and contrast the imagery and tone of the first two paragraphs of chapter 1 (“Ships at a distance...act and do things accordingly”) to the imagery and tone of the last paragraph of the novel (“The day of the gun...soul to come and see”). What is the function of these patterns and tensions?

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The first two paragraphs of Zora Neale Hurson's Their Eyes Were Watching God demonstrate distinct tones and imagery when compared to the last paragraph in the novel. In between, an entire story takes place that changes the characters—and the reader—intensely. To help with the analysis, let’s look directly at the first two paragraphs and the last one.

From chapter 1:

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, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

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.

From Chapter 20:

The day of the gun, and the bloody body, and the courthouse came and commenced to sing a sobbing sigh out of every corner in the room; out of each and...

(The entire section contains 629 words.)

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