A Quest for Identity in Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 2, Issue 4, July 2014, Pages: 92-97
Received: May 19, 2014;
Accepted: Jun. 20, 2014;
Published: Jun. 30, 2014
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Zahra Mahdian Fard, Department of English Language and Literature, College of Humanities, Boroujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Boroujerd, Iran
Bahman Zarrinjooee, Department of English Language and Literature, College of Humanities, Boroujerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Boroujerd, Iran
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Identity or the preoccupation with one’s self constitutes one of the main obsessions of Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) as a novelist. The fundamental argument in this paper is the quest for identity in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). She portrays characters who try to recognize themselves based on their own inner desires and thoughts. Many signs and hints in the novel demonstrate the main character’s notion of selfhood and identity changes as she is exposed to the new conditions, realities and experiences. At the end of Janie’s journey, she turns into an integrated and self-aware individual through a psychological process. Theoretically, this paper applies Frantz Fanon’s (1925-1961) theories, who dealt with psychological impacts of colonialism on the colonized people. Concerning his critique of the White’s oppression on black people, Fanon focuses his argument on the inadequacy of European rationalism and their disregard of the experience of ‘the other.’ For him colonization is totally a Euro- or White-centered discourse which does not account for or include non-White and non-European discourses. Fanon asserts that black people need to free themselves from the hegemony of White people and become independent. Eventually, this paper shows that Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God, after all her attempts and search for self-realization or her feminine identity, gains a great success in achieving her goals.
Identity, Black, Oppression, Colonialism, Self-realization
To cite this article
Zahra Mahdian Fard,
A Quest for Identity in Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, International Journal of Literature and Arts.
Vol. 2, No. 4,
2014, pp. 92-97.
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