Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I can imagine it all
Throughout the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses many literary devices. One in particular that she uses often is imagery. Hurston uses imagery to really give the reader an idea of what the scenery looks like and to also give them a chance to use their imagination to paint a picture in their mind of the event.
An example of Hurston using imagery is during the hurricane. Hurston writes "through the screaming they heard things crashing and things hurtling and dashing with unbelievable velocity. A baby rabbit, terror ridden, squirmed through a hole in the floor and squatted off there in the shadows against the wall, seeming to know that nobody wanted its flesh at such a time. And the lake got madder and madder with only its dikes between them and him" (159). This quotation is a use of imagery because you can see the baby rabbit terrified and you can almost hear the swishing sounds of things getting tossed around outside. This imagery kind of sets up a scary tone. It also kind of explains the fright that the characters, Janie, Tea Cake, and Motor Boat are experiencing. I can just picture them all sitting inside in complete quietness trembling with terror, just like the little rabbit.
Another example of imagery being used in the novel was after the hurricane. The devastation of the hurricane was explained through the "trucks lined with drag kept rolling in from the 'Glades and other outlying parts, each with its load of twenty-five bodies. Some bodies fully dressed , some naked and some in all degrees of dishevelment. Some bodies with calm faces and satisfied hands. Some dead with fighting faces and eyes flung wide open in wonder" (170). This quotation is more of a rather lurid piece of imagery, yet it still paints that vivid image in your mind of all those dead people. This piece of imagery kind of sets a sad and sullen tone to this chapter because it shows the devastation so clearly.
To conclude to my examples of imagery is also when Hurston was discussing the hurricane. Hurston says "that the wind and the water has given life to lots of things that folks think of as dead and given death to so much that had been living things. Water everywhere. Stray fish swimming in the yard. Three inches more and the water would be in the house" (160). One can almost imagine going outside of their home and the environment is turned upside down and is completely bizarre. One can also feel the emotions of fright, confusion, and anxiousness rush over them after reading imagery such as this. It changes Tea Cake because at one minute he is all tough saying that they were staying. Then the next minute he is scared and he is completely contradicting himself. Overall, I realized that there were many examples of imagery in this novel and they really put the novel to life for the reader.