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Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Reba gets Classy (kind of)
The February selection for one of my book clubs was Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, chosen in honor of Black History Month. I had never read this Classic of American Literature, and even though I just finished it in March, I feel like it was fitting, as March is Women's History Month, and this book ties into both themes. I enjoyed reading this novel, especially because of the main character Janie. She was such an interesting and strong heroine, and it was fascinating to watch her character grow and develop throughout the novel.
There were times when it was hard for me to read the dialect portions of the text. I almost needed to slow down and read them aloud, but they were such a fascinating contrast with the regular prose that it managed to keep my interest. I have to admit though, that I was also fascinated by the life of Zora Neale Hurston, and I encourage everyone to research a little bit about her life. In the 1930's, Hurston was a major literary figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and while many loved her works, just as many hated that she wrote in the style that she did. Richard Wright for one, felt that she was hurting black advancement and playing into stereotypes. However, today, most people view her writing as enlightening, powerful and real; they feel that she showed the world how life really was for black women. Many high schools read this book as part of the curriculum, but if your school doesn't, you should read it on your own and learn a little more about an important slice of American History.