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Their Eyes Were Watching God: Fresh Essay Topics

This compelling novel was first published in 1937, yet is still an engaging read today. The story takes the reader on the journey of one woman (Janie Crawford) and her quest to find her own identity in a time and age of struggle. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a highly acclaimed novel and one of the most read of all African-American literature and also why it makes an excellent essay topic. Check out these fresh ideas for essay topics on this fascinating novel.

Richard Wright's Review

Richard Wright reviewed Hurston's novel in 1937 with a very critical eye. He stated that although she may have written about African-American's her choice of dialect left the reader with the impression that her characters lacked substance and perhaps may have even been simple-minded. He then goes on to criticize that the overall novel had absolutely no thought to it, nor theme or message.

Using Wright's harsh opinion of, Their Eyes Were Watching God, discuss in depth why (in your reasoning) he disagreed so vehemently with Hurston's work and why you agree or disagree with his comments.

The Marriages

The main character in 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' had three marriages. Compare and contrast the men in Janie's life. How did the men differ from one another? What drew her to each man? What (if anything) did Janie learn from her relationship with each one?

The Jody Character

Jody is one of Janie's husbands and is very controlling of her; however, there are times in the novel that Janie is the one in control in the marriage. Discuss why you feel Jody needs to be dominant to all those around him, especially Janie. How does Janie end up threatening Jody's sense of control?

Janie's Silence

Their Eyes Were Watching God delves into the realm of speech and how it is used as a vehicle of control and liberation, yet at times, Janie's character remains quiet during important periods of her life. Discuss the role of silence in this book and how it changes throughout the novel. How has Janie's character been affected by this?

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a book that has many aspects for a good essay. Use these examples as a launching point to your own topic, or use them full out. Either way, you are on the right path to writing a winning paper.

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