Focus on one of the following literary elements in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God: Character, Setting, Symbol, Imagery, or Figurative Language. Connect the author’s use of such elements to an interpretation of the text’s most significant THEME, its larger meaning or message.
Questions to consider when formulating your thesis:
• Is the author male or female? Why is this significant?
• Is the text narrated by a male or female?
• What types of roles do women have in the text?
• What types of roles do men have in the text?
• Are the female characters the protagonists or secondary and minor characters?
• Do any stereotypical characterizations of women appear?
• Do any stereotypical characterizations of men appear?
• What are the attitudes towards women held by the male characters?
• What is the author’s attitude toward women in society? Toward men?
• How does the author’s culture influence her attitude towards women (or the way women are viewed by men)?
• Is feminine imagery used? If so, what is the significance of such imagery? Is it symbolic? Is masculine imagery used? Might it be symbolic?
• How do the males in the story conform to or subvert patriarchy?
• Do the female characters speak differently than the male characters? Compare the frequency of speech for the male characters to that of the female characters.