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their eyes were watching god paper

their eyes were watching god paper - A Look at Masculinity...

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A Look at Masculinity Placing Restrictions on Women in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God Womanism like feminism is especially concerned with social, political inequalities between men and women which favor men at women's expense. Womanism goes just beyond feminism pointing out that inequalities in race sexism and racism are both forms of human degradation. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) “places Janie on the road to self-realization and independence, [and therefore] has been hailed as a feminist novel” (14). Their Eyes focuses on female independence and freedom from male oppression and because of the womanist themes some male critics, particularly Richard Wright, discredited Hurston’s work as “not serious fiction” (Wright). Novelist Richard Wright believed that if a text did not blatantly make a statement about social injustices and take a political stance the author was not contributing anything valid to the art that is literature. Wright went on to say, “[Hurston’s] novel carries no theme, no message, no thought” (Wright). Contrary to Wright’s beliefs, Hurston is making a political stance in Their Eyes by promoting womanism. Barbara Johnson suggests that, “Hurston’s work is often called non-political simply because readers of Afro-America literature tend to look for confrontational racial politics” (94). Hurston simply was not interested in racial politics as she explains in Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), “My interest lies in what makes a man or a woman do such-and-so, regardless of color” (214). Hurston shows in a fictional representation how the personal is made political. Janie Mae Crawford becomes Hurston’s promotion of womanism in the text. The patriarchal society places many restrictions on women, through Janie’s identity quest and personal
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A Look at Masculinity…/Krista Ammons male and female relationships, Hurston exploits societies view of what a woman’s role should be, which is the domestic space and visual stimulant. Janie is a black woman whose identity begins to take form from another woman’s personal experiences. Janie’s identity quest begins with her grandmother Nanny Crawford. Nanny’s experience as a slave leaves her protesting, “against the restrictions and limitations imposed upon women by a masculine society” (Howard 93). Women in the first half of the century felt oppressed and voiceless among “the world of men” (Mitchell 173). Friedrich Engels explains that the view society held for women was that, “The woman was the slave of man at the commencement of society” (169). The common belief that the woman was the slave of man left Nanny with the impression that, “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world” (Hurston 14). Nanny knows that within society
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