Their Eyes Were Watching God

by: Zora Neale Hurston

Point of View

Main ideas Point of View

Their Eyes Were Watching God is told from the perspective of an omniscient third-person narrator, meaning the narrator has access to the inner lives of each character. Unlike Janie and the other characters, the narrator does not speak in the informal Southern dialect. However, the novel is framed as if Janie is telling her story to Pheoby, suggesting that the narrator—while separate from Janie’s voice—is actually an abstraction of Janie herself. This narrator is reliable and engaged with the unfolding story, describing Janie’s emotions with intimate familiarity. For example, when Jody dies and Janie feels no real grief, the narrator explains how Janie “sent her face to Joe’s funeral, and herself went rollicking with the springtime across the world.” This narrator has privileged access to the inner life Janie cannot outwardly expose.