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Journal Prompts for Their Eyes Were Watching God

Directions: Choose ONE of the following prompts to complete for the selected chapter. Please type your response in MLA format. Use as much detail as possible.

Chapter 1 Questions: Select quotations from the text that support your answers.
1. Hurston begins the book with an extended metaphor. What are the dreams of men? How are they different from the dreams of women? Who doesn’t get disappointed?
2. Janie has come back to town after doing what and to whom? (Pay attention to and remember their description.)
3. What are the porch-sitters compared to? How are they characterized? What can you infer from that description?
4. The first two pages are loaded with figurative language, as though Hurston was writing poetry in book form. What is the effect of this? Is it hard to understand? What is the effect of having to work a little harder to understand all the layers of her opening pages?
5. Pay attention to porches. What is the function of the porch in this chapter?
6. The author makes a big deal about Janie’s black rope of hair. This metaphor is a central image in the book. What might Janie’s hair symbolize? Follow it through the book.
7. Hurston is careful to give us many of the particulars of Janie’s life since she left this town. What do we know about her?
8. In the last line of the first chapter, Hurston uses a metaphor. What is it and what is its effect on the mood of the story?
9. Briefly discuss the voice in this book. Hurston switches from dialect to narrative prose. It is difficult to read at first, but it also has some benefits. Discuss both, as well as techniques which can be used to make it easier to read.

Chapter 2 Questions: Select quotations from the text that support your answers.
1. Janie’s life is a “great tree in leaf.” What does this image convey?

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