WORD LISTS

"Their Eyes Were Watching God," Vocabulary from the Foreword

March 8, 2013
As you read Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God," learn these word lists: Foreword, Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-10, Chapters 11-15, Chapters 16-20, Afterword
resilient
At first it might seem contradictory that a work whose central character is the remarkably resolute and resilient Janie Crawford should start with a dictum about “the life of men.”
dictum
At first it might seem contradictory that a work whose central character is the remarkably resolute and resilient Janie Crawford should start with a dictum about “the life of men.”
manifestation
However, that is one of the many shrewd manifestations of Zora Neale Hurston’s enormous talents: her ability to render a world complete with its codes and disciplines within a few sentences, and then placing in that world her vision of how her people—the women and men of her own creation, her characters—function, triumph, and survive.
swindle
From the time she first discovers that she is a “colored” little girl by searching for her face in a group photograph, to the moment she returns to Eatonville, Florida, from the Everglades, not swindled and deceived, as had been expected, but heartbroken, yet boldly defiant, after having toiled in the bean fields, survived a hurricane, and lost the man she loved.
prodigal
So in spite of the judgmental voices that greet her upon her return, in spite of the “mass cruelty” invoked by her prodigal status, Janie has earned the right to be the griot of her own tale, the heroine of her own quest, the “member” of her own remembering.
solace
She somehow unearthed the solace, or perhaps the desperation, to write.
diaspora
And I include all the international peoples of the African diaspora in this category.
alumna
Hers were among the books in a glass case in the Barnard library that also highlighted other famous alumna authors, including the poet, playwright, and novelist Ntozake Shange.
pious
If he were too uniformly pious, then rather than being her equal, as he was at work in the fields, he would be worshipped by her.
exigency
This is a novel with an overpowering sense of exigency and urgency in its layered plot, swift pace, intricate narration, and in the raw anguish evoked by the conflicting paths laid out for Janie Crawford.
nonconformity
Like all individual thinkers, Janie Crawford pays the price of exclusion for nonconformity, much like Hurston herself, who was accused of stereotyping the people she loved when she perhaps simply listened to them much more closely than others, and sought to reclaim and reclassify their voices.

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