Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God


Arlet Cruz, Assistant Editor

“The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly”.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston follows the life of Janie Crawford from childhood to an adulthood as an independent woman. The novel opens with neighbors on a porch judging Janie for her appearance and sudden return to town husbandless. The story quickly moves from present day into a flashback of her life story starting with  her youth. The plot intertwines Janie’s three marriages with her experiences with love, racism, sexism, abandonment, and abuse, ultimately ending with self-acceptance and independence. 

Hurston’s book showcases a black woman’s search for herself and leads readers to question Janie’s actions and decisions as she sets out on this journey for independence from those who try to take it away from her. In spite of each of her husbands and her grandmother, Janie perseveres against the tightening societal chains and devastating losses. However, readers can expect to connect with a strong female protagonist who fights for her own control and remains unapologetic about what she wants and will gain. 

Readers interested in the fight for racial and gender equality in the southern United States during the early-1900s will love this book. Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered Hurston’s most famous novel and one of the most historically significant works of the Harlem Renaissance.