Paradoxical Outcomes of Crisis in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Megan Elizabeth Schaub

Abstract


Operating on the understanding that a moment of crisis is also a moment of opportunity for both oppression and liberation, the following essay explores the potential outcomes of crisis through the lens of narrative structure in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Arguing against previous readings of Hurston’s novel by Simmons, Wolter, and McGowan, I propose that the circular narrative mode serves to reinscribe and reinforce existing systems of domination as each new cycle begins. Instead, I propose that it is the often critiqued linear narrative mode that provides the greatest opportunity for communities to overcome oppression.

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