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Example research essay topic: Zora Neale Hurston Eyes Were Watching God - 2,318 words

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HER EYES WERE WATCHING GOD OUTLINE I Introduction 3 II. Zora Neale Hurston's background 3 III. Context of the Changing Roles of Women 4 IV. Symbolism of the Pear Tree in the Novel 7 V. Search for Identity 8 VI. Conclusion 10 VII.

Works Cited 11 I. Introduction Historically speaking the women of the world have, since time immemorial, been making waves in making world changes for the sake of humanity. They were instruments in transforming lives of millions of people; they were great fighters of war, of the principles that they strongly believed in and stood up for. The women have been effective partners of men in pursuing greater heights of development in all aspects of societal transformation, and in achieving greater goals to truly make a difference. They have always taken active roles in the development of policies, laws, rules and regulations that promote peace and order, unity and economic development. Moreover, they are more empowered to express their thoughts in actions with zeal and honor, even though they were perceived by society to belong to the weaker sex or second class citizens.

They have faithfully conquered their commitment to effect responsively surmountable trials and difficulties and reach out the zenith of success. Hence, a number of known women have evolved as active leaders of their countries, bold members of societies, who are assuming their worthy positions in fulfilling their mighty missions where they are called for to serve with humility and success. II. Zora Neale Hurston's background It was in the year 1937 when Zora Neale Hurston published Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Of course, back then, people did not yet realize the importance of the material so it did not receive the recognition as it does today. The story was the result of her anthropological work in Haiti. Some felt that Hurston was quite critical in the way she critiqued the white treatment of blacks in the South. They thought that Hurston depicted the Blacks as not suffering too much from the demoralization of their race. Some even thought that the material had no theme at all and that the author short of exploited them by painting an untrue picture of them.

It was only in the 1970 s when professors of African-American and women's literature began incorporating the book in their lectures. Slowly, Hurston's ideas and thoughts in the way she portrayed the blacks were seen in a different light. Alice Walker who wrote The Color Purple was the springboard from which Hurston's works were hailed as the work of a genius. Walker became Hurston's advocate. It was later learned that the town from where Hurston came from was founded by a man named Joe Clarke which paralleled that from her novel Joe Starks. This person became the mayor then and it was discovered that the people from town would make it a habit of sitting on Joe Clarkes store porch and tell each other stories about their lives and their neighbors.

This had the same scenes in Hurston's own novel when townsfolk would sit in Joe Starks porch in Their Eyes were Watching God. In the novel, one is introduced to Janie who journeys from West Florida, to Eatonville, to the Everglades and gives readers a peek on the characters increasing immersion in black culture and traditions. III. The Novel in the Context of the Changing Roles of Women The social cleavages refer to those that were products of complex historical forces associated with deep divisions, between landowners and industrialists, workers and employers, Church and State (Norris, et al. , 1997).

Women, inevitably became common subjects affected by such social cleavages hence they usually hold divergent attitudes and values towards many major issues of time, be they political, social, cultural, or etc. in nature. The older social identities on women as compared with men were so structured in such ways that their former social identities, which were then based on economic inequalities, have now been replaced with more complex social and political cleavages, that are more fluid and constructed multiple social identities based on gender, region and ethnicity (Norris, et. , al. 1997). In the study of gender development when appreciating the changing roles of women over the years, there is a need to come up with an understanding of the role of women in development and knowing their changing concerns and issues over time. These areas of understanding need to determine the right kind of approaches to apply in activities that promote women empowerment. Starks does not make a good husband in the long run because his voice is meant "largely on shutting up hers" (Ferguson 185).

Starks is even the first one to disparage his won wife as seen when Tony requests Janie to say something but Starks interrupts by saying: "Thank yuh for yo' compliments, but mah wife don't know nothin' 'bout no speech-makin'. Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's uh woman and her place is in de home. " He does not empower his wife at all. Such is seen in the context of life then. Considering the passage of time and that the roles of women have been downplayed in various stages and phases over the years, there is still a growing demand for change and innovation on womens role to sustain continuous development. Come to think of it, with the emerging globalization and information technology advancement, these challenge women to find ways to develop approaches that cater to the changing worldwide concerns.

Promoting women empowerment is needed with more emphasis on providing them the tools to advance their interests in the world. Such tools upgrade methods for addressing their agenda and achieving their goals. Some of these tools are: (1) Women more involved in the promoting organization skills, enhancing such skills, their intellectual capacities, and physical, emotional and spiritual development (Whitney, et. al. , 2006, par. 1). Women go out of their shells to interact with women across the globe and not limited themselves in their existing environment.

This way, women have varied perspectives about life and its issues affecting women that pursue growth and development in them in the long run. (2) Recognize the interconnectedness of people around the world. Create efficient energy that will elevate the peoples morale, especially of women, who may still be in the situations where inequality of women with men is still heavily encountered and unresolved. (3) Propagate the potential of globalization to achieve harmony with the natural creative energies of the planet (Whitney, et. al. , 2006, par. 7). This can further be achieved if the men and women of the world establish a shifting of culture where society and institutions welcome the regeneration of relationships, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence such as the world has never dreamed (Whitney, et. al. , 2006, par. 8). IV.

Symbolism of the Pear Tree in the Novel The rights of women when exercised have evolved over the years yet they still face the same problems and issues racial and gender inequalities are still afflicting women today. The blooming of the pear three in the novel symbolized these dreams and rights that evolved in the heart and mind of Janie. She nourished those dreams and like the pear tree, it brought fruit in the end. Janie underwent a lot of struggles and she was like the pear tree that just grew and evolved beautifully. Recent research studies reveal that native women, like the American Indians, are being treated lowly for their lower social and economic status as compared with the white women in the United States of America. American Indians have lower earnings, less educated, and poverty and poor health condition are prevalent among them than among white American women.

Moreover, the native American women were treated lowly and are clearly manifested as they as less empowered in exercising their political and economic power to demand the necessary conditions that provide them decent living conditions. Another distinctive treatment that somehow has affected the women is the difference in treating native women in the rural from the urban areas. Discrimination is felt between them as salary grades are different from each other and are totally far more distorted from each other. And these differences are also felt from state to state. It was under a blossoming pear tree where Janie Mae Crawford, a sixteen year old nourished her dreams.

She is someone to reckon with as the author writes But nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody even thought to swallow spit until after her gate slammed behind her. (Hurston, p. 2). She is there waiting for the world to be made. The story depicts Janie as a young girl with all her dreams and yearnings. She thinks she has all her life mapped out before her but her grandmother has other plans for her. She is arranged to marry an older local farmer whom she does not love at all. Her loveless marriage to Killicks is distracted as she meets Joe Starks who then becomes the mayor of Eatonville.

Their life is intertwined and it comes to the point where she is then ready for her main journey with Vergible Woods or Tea Cake with whom Janie finds contentment. Yet he too, eventually dies and Janie returns back to her own town. She relays her life story to her friend and. Readers glean the life of Janie as marked by lifes vicissitudes.

She even states, If God do not think so no bout em, then Ah do, they's a lost ball in de high grass. (Hurston, p, 5). V. Search for Identity Identity is especially crucial for African-American adolescents. Johnson (1985) suggested that they travel a difficult road to a meaningful adult identify - a road that consists of racism, poor education, and lack of employment.

African-American adolescents identify with either athletes, entertainers, or those who are involved n illicit activities (e. g. , drug dealers). Johnson (1985) hypothesized that the lack of positive identity accompanied by societal rejection eventually leads the African-American teenager into alcohol and drug use and violent activities. {Violent behaviors among African-American adolescents} Recognition of the prevalence and seriousness of the dropping out problem among African Americans and its relationship to violent reactions present a great challenge to society. Dropping out from life and from society can be a problem especially if these are young people. For Hurston, this remains to be a challenge because she experienced a lot of sufferings in life like being a slave in a white family. The social inequalities endured by the black youths handed down from generation to generation are seen in the novel.

Promotion for racial inequality will help create equal treatment and opportunities for the advancement of African Americans. Filling the gaps of opportunity for the African Americans will help to keep them motivated. Applying this to the family structure today, being the dominant indicator for the problem needs to create a positive environment for the educational motivation and support for their kids. Parents generating a sense of security in the family will help resolve the social insecurities, thus, helping these youth handle conflicts and frustrations that will keep them away from violent behaviors. Youth with low self-esteem are more likely to drop out from school and eventually indulge in violent behaviors than those who are well motivated to stay in school and recognize a bright future ahead.

While the government is doing its job to address these serious disparities affecting women in society, the private sectors are also enjoined to do their share of improving the plight of women today; Effective federal, state and local policies to lower the poverty rates of women must not be done by the government alone; the private sectors must be aware of their roles in contributing to upgrade the standard of living of women, and by recognizing their worth in the public service and in the society. Providing them educational and employment opportunities can do more than enough to help them. It has been seen that black American women had been repressed especially in their writing. Janie spends her first forty years transcending the labels and stereotyping that women have been locked into. She succeeds in the end despite the strength of the men she encounters in her life. They too, have their own voices and opinions.

VI. Conclusion As Janie lived with the challenge of equality, it was important to note she had a critical role in American society which, like her, had also undergone dramatic changes. In meeting these challenges she equipped herself with education and with that she effectively articulated her concerns. Equality in the full extent would be difficult to achieve especially considering the highly diverse cultural groups that comprise American society, as conflicts would inevitably arise. Towards this end, there should be viable and sustainable channels in which interests of each group are upheld based on what is good for society in general. This was what Hurston projected with her character Janie, whom she expounded in her novel.

With this in place, compromises can be made leading to a more harmonious society which Hurston and her main character yearned throughout their lives. WORKS CITED Care, Michael Into the Abyss 2002 Retrieved on Aug, 27, 2007 from web Hurston, Z. N. Black History. Thomson Gale.

Retrieved on Aug, 27, 2007 from web Johnson, William. The Harlem Renaissance. Retrieved on Aug, 27, 2007 from web National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Retrieved on Aug, 27, 2007 from: web Norris, Pippa, 1991. 'Gender Differences in Political Participation in Britain: Traditional, Radical and Revisionist Models', Government and Opposition, 26: 1, pp. 56 - 74. Whitney, Diana, Chandra, Dinesh, Khalsa, Gurudev, Watkins, Jane. (2006). Globalization.

com: Mobilizing Human Spirit in Person and Online. Global citizenship. Retrieved on Aug, 27, 2007 from web


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