Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Audiobook
This novel was first published in 1937. The artistically talented novelist Zora Neale Hurston was honored by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple.
Janie Craford, born of rape, was raised by her grandmother, who was born a slave, experienced abolition, emigrated to Florida while continuing to live in the service of white masters. Their Eyes Were Watching God Audiobook .
Janie is beautiful, without knowing it, she has remarkable hair. She longs for happiness without being able to express it clearly, since she spent a spring afternoon under a flowering pear tree. It is the feeling of plenitude of flowers and pollen-laden bees that she confusedly calls for. But her first marriage, of reason, arranged by her grandmother, will not fulfill her dreams.
“Janie was sixteen. Glazed foliage and buds close to blooming and the desire to embrace life, but life seemed to slip away. Where were they, her singing bees? … from the top of the steps she scanned the world as far as she could, and then she went down to the barrier and leaned there to contemplate the road to the right and to left. Watching, waiting, his breath shortened by impatience. Waiting for the world to come into being. ”
At the barrier, passes an attractive and enterprising man, Joe Starks, with whom Janie will first leave with a light heart. The man has a powerful influence over others, and he will proclaim himself first mayor of the first city exclusively populated by blacks. He is also very jealous and confines Janie to the role of saleswoman in his store, forcing her to hide her hair and above all constantly belittling her, cutting her off from friendly contact with other inhabitants of the city.
It is Tea Cake, who possesses nothing except his courage and his intelligence, which will make known love, the true one, to Janie. He loves her for herself, he doesn’t impose anything on her but really takes care of her, he gives her back her self-esteem, through a nomadic existence, full of humor and fantasy. It was while participating in a bean-picking campaign in the Everglades, South Florida, that Janie and Tea Cake faced a hurricane with dramatic consequences.
“They turned around. See people trying to run in the raging waters and screaming when they saw that they couldn’t. A gigantic barrier coming from the frame of the dike and to which the huts had been leaned was to surge and crumble before them. Ten feet higher and as far as their sight could see, the grumbling wall opened the way to these formidable waves like a road crusher of cosmic dimensions. The monstrous beast had left its bed. A wind at two hundred miles an hour had broken his chains. It had seized its own dikes and was rushing straight to the quarters; uprooted them like grass and then went chasing his so-called conquerors, knocking down dikes, knocking down houses, knocking people down in houses and at the same time the rest of the lumber. The sea trod the land with a heavy step. “(P. 256)
Two ways of reacting to reading Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, translated by Sika Fakambi: the first would be the disappointment of not having read “the immense masterpiece” announced on the back cover; the second to say that this cult novel usefully complements the other recent readings spotted by Céline or Nathalie to recontextualize through literature the ongoing debates on racial questions in the United States and elsewhere. And there the book makes sense.
Written in 1937, this book portrays a proud and strong black woman, raised by her grandmother in the cult of anti-resignation. Janie Mae Crawford will have to go through the yoke of a first arranged marriage, then a disappointing second, to find the path of this education, run away and promise herself never to stick to the place of extras reserved for black women in Florida at the turn of the last century.
In a patois using the spoken language that surprises and then seduces, Zora Neale Hurston speaks to us about love, struggle, identity, battles finally waged more harshly against the prejudices of her own camp than against the whites themselves. It is a story of autonomy, an invitation to action and the feminist testimony of battles of an era, some of which still resonate with hateful topicality today …
In this lucid and poetic novel, Zora Neale Hurston tells the story of the post-slavery transition, where blacks are just beginning to gain autonomy and are obviously subject to segregation. It is also the novel of the emancipation of a woman: the novel begins with the return of Janie from the Everglades and she has damn courage, the nerve to assume her destiny and face the gaze of her neighbors. Their Eyes Were Watching God Audiobook .
the book obviously gives pride of place to the traditions of black Americans, the palaver, the dances, the songs, the language too, both creative and authentic (the dialogues are written in the language they really speak, it was a a little painful to get used to it for a good quarter of the novel but I’m fortunately used to it) the whole is experienced by tasty, well-established characters, a little horrifying like Joe Starkx or endearing like Janie and Tea Cake.
A beautiful, powerful novel.