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

Their Eyes Were Watching God book cover
Start Your Free Trial

To what extent is Nanny a feminist in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston? List at least three reasons and support your claims with quotes/evidence from the novel.

Expert Answers info

Jalen Mueller, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseProfessional Writer, Professional Researcher

bookB.A. from State University of New York at Geneseo

bookM.A. from Dartmouth College

calendarEducator since 2020

write5 answers

starTop subject is Literature

The simplest definition of a feminist is “a person who supports the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.” In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Nanny is acutely aware that in the Jim Crow–era South, women—especially black women—do not have equal rights or opportunities:

Honey, de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out ... So de white man throw down de load and tell de man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin’ fun it tuh be different wid you.

Nanny is a feminist because she believes that black women, like her granddaughter, should not be the mules of a world ruled by men. She wants the world to be different for Janie but is limited by what she herself can do to impact change.

Nanny was born into slavery. She tells Janie,

Ah was born back due in slavery so it...

(The entire section contains 650 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial