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

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What are some important historical references made in Their Eyes Were Watching God ?

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In the response cited below are the references to the United States during the era of slavery, with Nanny recalling her abuse by both the man and woman slave owners on the plantation as the Civil War is drawing to a close.

Hurston herself grew up in Eatonville, the town created when a white man gave land to freed slaves so they could create a village where they would govern themselves. Early in the actual town's history, it was granted a post office, as is described in the novel. Hurston staunchly believed that African Americans could function without the assistance of government programs. Unlike many of the other African American writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston was politically conservative, or even libertarian, in her belief that social programs conveyed too much dependency on the government. Eatonville is symbolic of the ability to self-govern if given the chance.

The hurricane at the end of the novel is also based on historical fact. The Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928...

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