Race And Gender As Central Themes In “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (1350 words)

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Purpose of the assignment: In this assignment, you will be asked to practice critical thinking and writing skills, learn to develop points, practice analyzing a text, practice using literary terminology, and practice communicating an idea clearly and fully.
In 1937, the novelist Richard Wright argued: “Miss Hurston voluntarily continues in her novel the tradition which was forced upon the Negro in the theater, that is, the minstrel technique that makes ‘the white folks’ laugh…The novel carries no theme, no message, no thought. In the main, her novel is not addressed to the Negro, but to a white audience whose chauvinistic tastes she knows how to satisfy.” Respond to this claim.
Basic Guidelines:
• Your essay must have a clear, argumentative thesis statement in the introduction.
• The body of the essay needs to develop and support the claim you articulate in your thesis.
• The closing portion of your essay needs to do more than merely restate the key ideas you’ve discussed in the body of your text.
Rhetorical Situation:
• Purpose: To make a claim about an author’s work.
• Mode: Analytical
• Evidence: Quotes from the text/ two additional credible articles
• Voice: Formal

Special Constraints:
• Incorporate a thesis statement
• 4-5 pages (4 full pages minimum); five paragraphs minimum
• A Works Cited page (does not count as part of the page length requirement)
• Final draft should be submitted in MLA Format
• Give work an original title.

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The plurality of themes in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” encompasses everything from gender, race, social and economic position of the characters. However, given the time and the historical circumstances in which it was written, some have argued that the work is meant to disenfranchise the black population. Effectively, as Wright puts it, the main purpose of the novel was to make the “white folks” laugh. Regardless of the initial logic of this assessment after thorough reading it becomes apparent that the author did not intend to “satisfy a specific audience”. On the contrary, Their Eyes Were Watching God is focused on the culture of living of the African American community in that period.
Taking a stand back from her roots the author simply portrays the social environment in which the novel takes place, but disregards the adamant racial rules and division that effectively split the American society in the early 20th century. In a sense, the entire novel is exactly the opposite of what Wright argues. If anything it is a critique of the established social and racial order. By voicing her characters, Hurston tries to show life through (sometimes) comedic episodes of the main characters as they move through life and the novel...
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