Picture of Zora
English 102 In-Class Essays
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Please respond to one of the following writing opportunities in a well-developed, clearly organized essay.

  1. At the beginning of the novel, Nanny tells Janie, "De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see" (14).  After Janie's trial, another character suggests, "Uh white man and uh nigger woman is de freest thing on earth" (180).  Which of these perspectives represents a more accurate reflection of the events that occur over the course of the novel? Be sure to examine specific characters and situations when supporting your claims.
  2. Is Tea Cake Woods a sympathetic character?  Explain by examining his relationship not only with Janie, but also with the other characters in the novel.
  3. Is Nanny a sympathetic character?  Are her actions with regards to Janie appropriate?  Explain by examining her relationship to Janie throughout Janie's life.
  4. What purpose does storytelling play in this novel? Examine the role of storytelling in Eatonville as well as down on "de muck."
  5. What, if anything, does this novel have to say about race relations in America during the time of its composition?  Be sure to refer to several different situations in which race becomes an issue.