Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their eyes Were Watching God has been highly praised and severely criticized for its depiction of African American folk culture. A set of primary source materials, including photographs, articles, essays, and excerpts from speeches provides readers with background information to understand the debate.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Investigate Hurston's life, her education, and her work as an anthropologist
  • Research the history of Eatonville, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Florida migrant workers
  • Include in a unit study of the novel, during Women's History and/or Black History month
  • Ask readers to craft an essay in which they take a position on the question of the use of folk language, traditions, and interactions in modern films, music, and visual art
Classroom Considerations
  • Presumes class members have prior knowledge of the United States Civil War and the Reconstruction Era
  • A protocol must be in place for a safe, respectful discussion
  • The teaching guide includes discussion questions and activities
  • None