1. In 1937,
Richard Wright reviewed Their Eyes Were Watching God and
wrote: “The sensory sweep of her novel carries no theme, no message,
no thought. In the main, her novel is not addressed to the Negro,
but to a white audience whose chauvinistic tastes she knows how
to satisfy.” In particular, Wright objected to the novel’s discussion
of race and use of black dialect. Why might Wright have objected
to Their Eyes Were Watching God? Do you agree or
disagree with Wright’s interpretation of the novel?
2. Discuss the idea of the horizon
in the Their Eyes Were Watching God. What does
it symbolize for Janie?
3. Compare and contrast Janie’s
three marriages. What initially pulls her to each of the three men?
How do they differ from one another? What does she learn from each
4. In her marriage to Jody, Janie
is dominated by his power. At several points, however, it is obvious
that he feels threatened by her. Why does Jody need to be in control
of everyone around him? How does Janie threaten Jody and his sense
5. Their Eyes Were Watching
God is concerned with issues of speech and how speech is
both a mechanism of control and a vehicle of liberation. Yet Janie
remains silent during key moments in her life. Discuss the role
of silence in the book and how that role changes throughout the