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Setting of Their Eyes Were Watching God

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by

Kyle Winston

on 27 April 2015

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Transcript of Setting of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Setting of
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Eatonville
An all-black town just north of Orlando
When they first arrived, it was hardly a town - "Joe noted the scant dozen of shame-faced houses scattered in the sand and palmetto roots and said, 'God, they call this a town? Why, 'tain't nothing but a raw place in de woods.'" (34)
Jody helped build the town as mayor and he and Janie achieved wealth and status
Janie, during this time, felt oppressed and stifled
"Joe had forbidden her to indulge" (53)
"She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels." (76)
Hurston grew up in Eatonville and her father was the mayor and an influential preacher. Unlike Janie, she loved her time there.
Eatonville and Jacksonville
Janie felt lonely and free after Jody's death
"At night she was there in the big house and sometimes it creaked and cried all night under with weight of lonesomeness." (89)
In Jacksonville, Janie was filled with worry and trepidation
"The room inside looked like the mouth of an alligator....[Jacksonville] was too big to be warm, let alone to need somebody like [Janie]." (118)
Hurston briefly attended boarding school in Jacksonville until she was expelled due to lack of money and forced to find work as a maid and singer
The "Muck"
Janie feels open and free and can finally be herself
"Ground so rich that everything went wild.... Wild cane on either side of the road....People wild too."
(128)
"Her soul crawled out from its
hiding place." (127)
West Florida
The novel begins in West Florida and is set in the early 1900s
Janie lived with her grandmother and was forced to marry Logan Killicks
"[His house] was a lonesome place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had ever been. The house was absent of flavor, too." (21-22)
Janie's marriage was absent of love and she was lonely, causing her to run off with Jody
"A feeling of sudden newness and change came over her....The change was bound to do her good." (32)
Eatonville, 1920s
The Everglades, 1920s
The Hurricane
Setting is turbulent and angry, which foreshadows Janie's final moments with Tea Cake
"the lake got madder and madder" (159)
"As far as the eye could reach, water and wind playing upon [the land] in fury." (165)
"The wind was weakening....[Tea Cake's] wind was gone." (164)
"[In Palm Beach, Tea Cake] saw the hand of horror on everything....The mother of malice had trifled with men." (169)
Okeechobee Hurricane Aftermath, 1928
Irony
Janie has wealth and a high status in the all-black Eatonville, but she was unable to find happiness there, instead preferring the hard work and "muck [that'll] itch yuh lak ants" (129) of the wild Everglades.
Links
Heart of Darkness
The setting often reflects the inner conditions of the protagonist.
In the "big" Everglades, Janie feels big and free
In uncivilized Africa, Marlow feels "scientifically interesting"
"Civilized" men don't recognize the full humanity of blacks.
In Palm Beach after the storm, whites are buried in coffins but blacks are thrown into mass graves and covered in quick-lime
Marlow is surprised he feels regret about the death of his helmsman, who, to him, "was no more account than a grain of sand in a black Sahara" (Ch. 2)
Things Fall Apart
Janie changes with each change in setting, but Okonkwo doesn't.
"A feeling of sudden newness and change came over [Janie]" (32) after she married Jody and moved to Eatonville
Okonkwo refuses to change after his exile to Mbanto and his return to Umuofia
Both novels involve joy in wild, "uncivilized" places.
Janie is happiest in the "wild" Everglades
Okonowo is happiest before the white men arrive to "bring civilization to different parts of Africa" (179)
The Turn of the Screw
The settings of both are often isolated.
Janie feels alone in Logan's house, which is located "in the middle of the woods" (21) and the Everglades are far from civilization
Bly is a country estate and the only contact with the outside world is through Luke, the messenger, and church on Sundays
The setting in
TEWWG
changes often, but it remain constant within the frame in
TOTS
.
Janie travels from West Florida to Eatonville to Jacksonville to the Everglades to Palm Beach to the Everglades and then to Eatonville
Bly is the setting for most of
The Turn of the Screw
Full transcript