Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday night discussion of Their Eyes Were Watching God with Dr. Rafia Zafar

Discussion of Janie's marriages. Married to Logan in Nanny's parlor (page 191 LOA edition). With Jody, on page 200 (LOA), "Green Cove Springs", he told the driver. So they were married there. . . " But was Logan still alive at this point? Was Janie a bigamist?
If Logan had died by the time Jody had passed, then Janie was legally married to Tea Cake.
Their Eyes Were Watching God, the title. Some things we thought about the title:

  • Janie was not a religious person.
  • page 305 (Library of America edition), As the hurricane came, "They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God."
  • Does Janie see hypocrisy in religion?
  • Jody does not want her to attend church, but does she have a need for God? 
  • In Jonah's Gourd Vine, John was religious, but was he moral?
  • Hurston had strong feelings about beliefs of others, she did believe in a higher spirit, as referenced in her autobiographical Mules and Men.

  • Mrs Turner's comments in chapter 16, why did Hurston have Janie allow the comments to pass with no reaction?
  • Tea Cake's reaction to Mrs. Turner
  • A comparison to the Edward Jones book (which Dr. Zafar is teaching this year) The Known World.
  • How can we have inequality in death? During and after the hurricane all are equal. All of our petty struggles are swept away.
  • Is the hurricane just a hurricane? What does Hurston want us to pay attention to? 
  • Only a catastrophic event can separate Tea Cake and Janie.
  • Tea Cake is killed through the skills that Janie learns from him.

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