Their Eyes Were Watching God Throughout this Remarkable Journey of Life and Love written by Zora Neale Hurston Docent as Gianna Franco

This gallery showcases different pieces of artwork representing the overall feeling and experience of the book Their Eyes Were Watching God written by Zora Neale Hurston. The unique pieces follow the good as well as the bad years of the protagonist, Janie, who, throughout her life, struggles to find the true meaning of love and if the love she's always believed in really exists at all. In this journey of self-discovery and pure faith, this gallery captures the hope and optimism of one woman who believes in the freedom of love. 

Selected Epigraph: "Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us." ~Samuel Smiles I chose this quote by Samuel Smiles because I believe it encompasses Janie's outlook on life. She has suffered great loss and sorrow in her lifetime, yet she still turns her face to the sun, similar to the one in this painting, and steps forward with the hope that the new day will be better than the one before.
Universal Themes: Two of the most important themes in this book include discovery as well courage. I believe this painting represents a crucial moment in the book when the main character, Janie, finally has the courage to stand up to her abusive husband Joe Starks and speak her mind after staying silent for the long years of their marriage. The lioness growling back at the lion is similar to the way Janie made it clear to Joe that she would not be intimidated by him anymore. That day she discovered in herself that she had the power to create a life she wanted, rather than live by the ideals of someone else's. She carries this thought throughout the rest of the book as well as the rest of her life.
Tone: For a great deal of the book Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jaine feels a sense of uncertainty about herself as well as her marriage and what she thought was love. However, the reader will also notice the feeling of hope entwined with the uncertainty, a hope that someday Janie will find the love she's dreamed about her whole life. The expression on this girl's face in the painting portrays a sense of solemnity and longing, longing for, in Janie's case, love.
Historical Setting: Their Eyes Were Watching God takes place in the state of Florida in the early 1900's after the Civil War. Although parts of the book take place in Eatonville, Florida, the setting where Janie feels the happiest and the freest is in the Florida Everglades. This painting depicts the Everglades washed in a beautiful sunset, a place where Janie spends months living a life extremely different from the uptight life she has grown used to in Eatonville. It is here in the Everglades where she works in the bean and cane fields with Tea Cake and discovers that she loves him unlike any of her husbands before.
Text-to-World Connection: In the book, the Everglades where Janie and Tea Cake work is unexpectedly hit with torrential rains and is flooded to the point where the lake overflows onto the mainland. This event reminds me of the natural disasters that occur in our world, such as the flood in Texas about a week ago, or the recent flood in South Mississippi. This piece of artwork displays the chaos and destruction that occurred in the Everglades in the book, as well as throughout the world today.
A Piece of Artwork Representing Janie: I believe that this piece of artwork portrays the love Janie longs to feel. The woman in this painting is looking on at a happy couple with an expression of longing and wishing she could have the same. The woman in this painting is also wearing her hair up in a rag, a style Janie hated but wore as well because Joe forced her to in fear her beautiful black hair would draw the attention of too many men. Although Janie is married, she knows she does not feel any love towards him. Read a day in the life of Janie at the link below.
A Piece of Artwork Representing Janie: This piece of artwork represents Janie as well. Throughout the book, Janie feels trapped inside of herself, similar to how the girl is trapped behind the barbed wire. While she is married to Joe Starks, she feels unable speak her mind to Joe as well as the others in town, with him always mocking her or bringing her down. She, like the girl behind the wire fence, is silent and trapped for many years of her life. View a mandala representing Janie's character at the link below.
Credits: All media
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