Natural Imagery in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Khadeeja Saeed Ismail
Juan Abdullah Ibrahim


nature, Hurston, horizon, Janie, mule


          Zora Neale Hurston’s (1891-1960) fame is due to the themes she tackles and the language she manipulates in her writings. She uses images and metaphors related to nature to refer to human miseries, wishes and desires. Hurston as an African American writer and a figure in the Harlem renaissance, overuses such metaphorical images related to nature to express the identity of the modern individual. Women in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God are striving through such metaphors and images of nature to achieve unity of self and quit oppression imposed on them by the community and their families.

         Hurston’s powerful literary voice is due to the great themes she investigates, and these literary devices in her works. Her use of the folk vernacular language renders her works to be unique, due to the readers’ involvement in the world of her characters. The author’s intelligence in depicting natural images is the result of her intimacy with the world of nature.

        This paper aims at shedding lights on the way Hurston engages natural elements and connects them with the destiny of her characters. It focuses on the examination of Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and depicts natural images in the novel. It portrays that the novelist’s aim in using such images is conveying significant messages regarding racial discrimination, love, marriage and identity. Moreover, the researchers illustrate the role of nature in the novel, to pave the way for the reader to understand its significance to the characters, particularly the protagonist of the novel.

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