Five Things About... Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

First of all, my kids ended up so invested in the Tea Cake-Janie relationship that they started sending me heated messages. Can I ask for anything more as an English teacher?

Like so many other books that I teach, this one is such a great way to bring in plenty of themes, symbolism, character development, etc…  Hurston is of course a genius when it comes to her actual prose, so we’re able to do a lot with foreshadowing, metaphors, tone, etc… too. There’s something for all levels of students, which is always appreciated. 

I mean, come on, the rabid dog standing on the cow in hurricane floodwaters? It’s ridiculous and it’s genius and we are HERE FOR IT.

I’m not a history teacher and won’t even play one on TV, but I do love bringing in ties to the past. The students have learned about slavery and Jim Crow Laws, so they’re usually able to bring in prior knowledge as well. 

I’m such a sucker for a full-circle reference, so the parts about the horizon at the beginning and the end always get me. I get way too into it and 90% of the kids stare at me like I’m crazy, while the remainders are right there with me.

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