A comparison of the books “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.
This paper compares the two books to examine how they portray the role of the natural world in relation to events in the human world. The use of elements of nature, such as the seasons, weather, vegetation, and animals is explored in these two novels. The symbolism and meaning of these elements in terms of the stories and characters is discussed.
“Zora Heale Hurston and Toni Morrison both use similar themes in their novels, although written decades apart. Not only do they both use the word “eye” in their title, their characters share similar emotions in their search for their own identities. Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is about a woman who after three marriages finally finds her own voice and at the same time discovers that much of her power lies in silence.
Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” is about a young girl longing for beauty only to find it in her madness. Both novels concern African American culture and the sub-cultures within the class status. Both Morrison and Hurston weave folklore into their stories with symbolic references to nature. Moreover, both authors establish this symbolism by opening their novels with nature references.
Hurston opens “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by writing, “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly (Hurston 1998). In this sentence, Hurston symbolically establishes that men and women instinctively rely on each other for certain needs. Janie, the main character of the story, is like many women who search for a man who can complement her and give her the qualities that she doesn’t possess on her own. It also refers to the theme that men never really strive for their dreams, while women are able to control their desires and wills and chase their dreams (Hurston 1998).