Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is not an autobiography; however, it certainly contains biographical elements.
Zora grew up in Eatonville, Florida, one of the most significant settings in the novel. It is an all-black settlement, the first in the nation, and Zora had fond memories of the time she spent growing up there. We see the town come to life in the novel, both its delights and its flaws.
While Zora's mother always encouraged her to take risks and dream big, her father was always afraid she would offend white society, so he routinely punished her for being so brash and bold. This is the same pressure Janie feels at various times and from various people in the novel. Despite the fact that Nanny gets scared about Janie's future and traps Janie into a loveless and unfulfilling marriage, Nanny is also a reflection of Zora's mother. Nanny tells Janie:
Ah was born back due in slavery so it wasn’t for me to fulfill my dreams of whut a woman oughta be and to do....
(The entire section contains 623 words.)