Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prejudices of All Sorts

What I found interesting was that Zora Neale Hurston touched upon other prejudices, not just racism, in her novel. First, there is the obvious theme of racism. The characters in the novel are mostly black. They speak the traditional dialogue of a black southerner, and most are uneducated. This is because at this time most African Americans did not have the same oppurtunities as the white people in America. Therefore they rarely recived an education or had the opurtunity to work at a high-paying job.

However, Hurston also touches upon other prejudices such as agism. Throughout the novel Janie is constantly told by others that Tea Cake is only after her money. No one believes that he truely loves her because he is younger than she is. However, although Tea Cake does seem to act suspicious at times, he and Janie are happy together. For them age does not matter.

Additionally, Hurston also adds sexism into her novel. Janie cannot marry who she wants at the beginning of the novel because she must marry someone who is more "suitable" for her. At this time women had little say in most matters, including marriage. Once in the marriage they were often treated badly by their husband. Janie experiences this with her first two marriages. She is constanted treated as an inferior by males. I found it interesting how Hurston incorportated all three predujices into her novel, and how many times they all seem to go together.

1 comment:

  1. I think Janie's actions/relationship with Tea Cake also show how she was way before her time; I don't think anyone in the early 1900's was thinking/saying "You're as old as you feel." She really acts upon that statement by being a cougar (before it was actually cool to be a cougar) as well as by acting more carefree than a woman of her age typically would. Do you think this also ties into feminism? (I know it's not a prejudice or negative in this case, but do you think Hurston has something to say about the strength of women too?)