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Write a critical response essay to Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Do not summarize. Instead, explain how the novel works. You need a formal introduction. Identify author and title in the first sentence, as the book is your topic. You need to identify a central theme (main point, not topic) of the novel, as well as at least one literary method used to express this theme. Some common literary tools, just to name a few, are plot, character, and imagery. Be specific enough in your identification of method that you are describing this work, and not fiction in general.
Do not use the first person pronoun. In other words, you do not need sentences like: “As I will show in this paper…” or “In my opinion….” Just state your opinions as fact, but support them with evidence in the form of examples,, and explain the significance of your evidence. If you want to refer to reader response, use “the reader(s).”
Also remember that texts operate in the present tense. You need sufficient body paragraphs to support your thesis. The essay must be at least three pages long, and follow MLA guidelines. Below are a few possible approaches to the novel, though you may come up with your own as long as you meet the general requirements of the essay.
1) Examine Hurston’s use of imagery. Some elements of imagery are trees (and roots, branches, etc.), the horizon, the road, ships at a distance, voice, dreams and mules. You may examine one or more of these elements, but the idea is to explain how they are used to express a theme.
2) If you evaluate the novel’s use of voice, be sure to comment on how it can establish agency (asserting identity), form community, and/or oppress others. Among the various relevant passages you may consider, you must comment on the significance of the final trial scene.
3) Evaluate what the novel suggests about domestic violence.
4) Evaluate the use of plot. Hurston sets Janie on a quest, which tends to be episodic, but also creates a circular plot.
5) Examine how Their Eyes Were Watching God meets or fails to meet Ursula LeGuin’s “carrier bag” model (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. of fiction. You might consider some of the topics above as you set about to answer this question.
 

 

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