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

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What are examples of figurative language in chapters 2 and 3 of Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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Zora Neale Hurston portrays Janie as a philosophical, imaginative person through the use of vivid imagery, drawing on multiple senses. Janie feels deep connections to the natural world and, through it, to God. A passage in chapter 2 about the pear tree that is a symbol of her awakening consciousness shows this association. With its barely-open flowers, the tree “stirred her tremendously.” She feels that she barely hears a forgotten flute song, but also understands:

This singing she heard had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell.

A few pages later, Hurston picks up the tree metaphor as related to one’s idea in the world. This time Janie’s grandmother offers a strongly contrasting vision: “us colored folks is branches without roots.”

In chapter 3 , tree imagery occurs once more. The narrator provides Janie’s feelings after she married Logan, moved away with him, and first saw his house. Its barrenness and isolation, symbolic of their marriage and...

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