Their Eyes Were Watching God

Reading Schedule

Audiovisual Supports

Their Eyes Were Watching God - Oprah Winfrey Film

Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston - NPR Radio Documentary
     Part I
     Part II
     Part III
     Part IV
     Part V

Day One: Emerging Motifs

Chapters 1-3: Initial Response

Day Two: Regionalism and Romanticism

Chapters 4-5 Response: Select one of the three questions on this document and post your response in your Google Docs Reading Journal.

Regionalism Article: Read this brief article and in groups of 2-3 identify at least 5 ways that Their Eyes Were Watching God can be understood as a "regionalist" novel.  Post your 5 connections in your Google Docs Reading Journal.

Romanticism Handout

William Wordsworth's "Daffodils":  This is one of Wordsworth's more popular and accessible poems. Read it and then write a response that discusses how the speaker's attitude and the language of the poem mirrors Janie's mentality and the language of Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Post this response in your Google Docs Reading Journal.

Day Three: The Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Renaissance Overview
Nearpod Presentation

Select Langston Hughes Poems
Select Claude McKay Poems
Critical Responses to Their Eyes Were Watching God

Day Four: Folklore and Folktales

"The Last Slave"
Folklore Overview
Folklore Handout: Post a response to question 4 on this handout to your Google Docs Reading Journal.  We will review questions 1-3 in class together.

Day Five: Folklore and Voodoo

Stein, Rachel.  "Remembering the Sacred Tree: Black Women, Nature, and Voodoo in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Women's Studies.  25.5 (1996): 465+.

Curren, Erik D.  "Should Their Eyes Have Been Watching God?: Hurston's Use of Religious Experience and Gothic Horror."  African American Review.  29.1 (Spring 1995): 17-25.

Day Six: The Blues

Assignment: The musical genre known as the Blues is one of the most influential of all time. We see it reflected in a variety of today's most popular genres, from folk/country/bluegrass to rock to hip-hop/rap. Hurston, like other artists of her time, was a huge fan, especially of one of the most popular musicians of the time, Bessie Smith.

Follow the link to the Blues packet below.  In it, you'll find a general description of the Blues and lyrics and links to a selection of blues songs and musicians (the links will take you to YouTube so you can hear the songs).

Then, in your Reading Journal, post a response that discusses the various ways we see the influence of the Blues in Their Eyes Were Watching God.  Start with the obvious - Tea Cake plays the guitar, for example - but move to the less obvious, such as "How are the subjects and themes of Blues songs infused into the novel?" or "How is the novel concerned with the secular side of life, as Bichet remarked?"   

The Blues Packet
Blues Essay Excerpt

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