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

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In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, how does Janie use silence and lack of speech as a form of resistance? Give at least four examples from the book and explain.

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Throughout the novel, Zora Neale Hurston often presents Janie in a situation where speaking out would not help her gain what she desires or could be dangerous. At other times, she is outspoken. Both silence and speech can therefore be understood as constituting resistance.

When Janie returns to Eatonville, as the novel begins, the town gossips cannot contain their curiosity about her activities since leaving. They complain, as Pheoby says, that “she didn’t stop and tell us all her business.” Janie demonstrates the advantages of keeping her own council.

Later, however, she will begin providing a full narrative to Pheoby. Janie says that talking and understanding are two different things, and she can provide that understanding because of their close friendship.

So tain’t no use in me telling you something’ unless Ah give you de understandin’ to go...

(The entire section contains 442 words.)

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