As soon as I read the first line of the novel, I could tell that Hurston has excellent control over her language. I was impressed with some of her simple sentences. Her language shows a quality of modernist literature. There are hidden meanings within the language. The first chapter alone is layered. Hurston's narrative is an effective aspect to her writing. An example of Hurston's language is when narrator states, "It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song" (2). She is not coming right out and saying "They were gossiping." Hurston uses creative language to express a plain sentence, which makes readers to contrive their own opinion on what the sentence means. In that one sentence she portrays a reality of society, that appears in all cultures, including this black community.
One line that I literally said "wow" after reading it was, "'An envious heart makes a treacherous ear'" (5). Pheoby delivers this beautiful writing, in my opinion, to Janie. It truly expresses reality clearly. Jealousy leads to deceitful acts against those whom one is envious of. For now the deceit may just me gossiping, making harsh judgments and accusations. This is a statement true for all different settings. However, the sentence also serves to prove a Black stereotype to be false. To me this line is a pretty intelligent statement. During that time, Blacks were discriminated against; one common stereotype was stupidity. In Mark Twain's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim proves this to be incorrect throughout the satirical novel. Pheoby is also breaking free of the stereotype in the first chapter alone. The dialect may sound unintelligent, however, the thoughts are truly wise. Pheoby proves to be a rather intelligent women early off when giving a caveat to Janie.
The narration and use of dialect I feel is very well done. Hurston allows her readers to be active readers. Once we hear Janie's story, I am sure that the layered language will be a great source for interpreting themes, for developing characterizations, and for our simple entertainment.