Hurston was the fifth of eight children, and while she was still a toddler, her family moved to Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black incorporated town in the United States, where John Hurston served several terms as mayor. InHurston enrolled in Morgan Academy in Baltimore, where she completed her high school education. Three years later, she enrolled at Howard University and began her writing career. She took classes there intermittently for several years and eventually earned an associate degree.
The use of dialect makes the characters seem real; they are believable. After making some initial adjustments as a reader to become familiar with the language, readers feel as if they were actually a part of the action.
It is worth noting that the dialect used in the novel is closer to a Southern dialect, rather than an African-American dialect.
Not only do Janie, Tea Cake, and their friends have similar speech patterns, but also the guards who command Tea Cake after the hurricane speak in a comparable dialect. Hurston's familiarity with the language of the South enables her to accurately depict the dialect of the region. Their Eyes Were Watching God is rich in dialect, known as the spoken version of a language.
Dialect is regional, and it has distinctive features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Early in the novel, Hurston tells her readers what to expect in the language of her characters.
She states that Janie will tell her story to Pheoby in "soft, easy phrases. Once readers understand the dialect and its common features, the text becomes familiar and easy to read. The reader approaches both Eatonville and the muck as an outsider and soon discovers patterns in the language of the characters.
Initial and final consonants are frequently dropped. For example, "get" becomes "git. A double negative such as "Nobody don't know" gives emphasis.
Distortions of the past tense also occur. For example, "knew" becomes "knowed. The reflexive pronoun "himself" becomes "hisself. In addition to patterns of dialect, Janie and her friends speak a language rich in a vocabulary of localisms and folklore references.
These features are also characteristic of regional speech and help make dialects distinctive. The character of Tea Cake is to some extent characterized by his language.
He is the only character who consistently uses "us" as a nominative; perhaps it is Hurston's subtle way of suggesting that Tea Cake is of a lower class than Joe or the porch sitters.“If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk.
It's so many people never seen de light at all.” ― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God. And this combo, in Hurston's genius hands, totally works.
If you think about Zora Neale Hurston's choice of writing style, you can definitely put your finger on two distinct voices in Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel by Zora Neale Hurston that was first published in You Can't Hear Their VoicesOctober 13, Review of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching GodIt isn’t that this novel is bad, but that it deserves to be better.
Their eyes were watching God: a novel / Zora Neale Hurston ; with a foreword by Mary Helen Washington and an afterword by Henry Louis poetry and its female hero was its investment in black folk tradi-tions. Here, finally, was a woman on a quest for her own identity Their Eyes Were Watching God.
By , Their Eyes, again out of print. A short Zora Neale Hurston biography describes Zora Neale Hurston's life, times, and work. Also explains the historical and literary context that influenced Their Eyes Were Watching God.