102 Their Eyes close reading

102 Their Eyes close reading - 1 Close Reading Their Eyes...

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Close Reading Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 2 1288 words Janie’s Sexual Awakening in Their Eyes Were Watching God One of the greatest pleasures of Their Eyes Were Watching God is that we get to experience Janie’s story through her own narrative, through the story she chooses to tell her friend Pheoby after a long journey home. This narrative framework allows Janie’s desires and experiences to resonate throughout the novel even when she is unable to express herself through the powerful first person dialect that so characterizes her voice. In Chapter 2 of Their Eyes , Janie thinks back to her “young years” with the wisdom and experience she couldn’t have begun to fathom as a 16-year-old girl. Yet through the strategic use of the third person limited point of view, Zora Neale Hurston is able to show us Janie’s sexual awakening as organic growth, all the while revealing the girl’s limited ability to intellectualize her deeply felt transformation. Though Janie recalls the event as a mature woman, the reader is able to experience it through the senses of an innocent girl. Here, she has been lying under a pear tree in the back yard of her childhood home: That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously. How? Why? It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing she heard that had nothing to do with her ears. (Hurston 10) This passage uses the springtime blooming of a pear tree as a metaphor for Janie’s sexual awakening. Janie’s attraction to the tree began when “the first tiny bloom had opened” (10). She was not drawn in by the tree itself, but rather its transformation—its blossoming from a closed up, protected stem that had never piqued her senses, to an open, receptive bloom so powerful that it
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This note was uploaded on 06/15/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Littlefield during the Fall '08 term at South Carolina.

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102 Their Eyes close reading - 1 Close Reading Their Eyes...

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