Their Eyes Were Watching God

by: Zora Neale Hurston

Setting

Main ideas Setting

Their Eyes Were Watching God is primarily set in rural Florida in the early 20th century, especially in Eatonville. Incorporated in 1887, the real community of Eatonville was one of the first self-governing black communities in the United States, providing safety and opportunity for its black residents. Hurston roots the novel in the black experience by choosing the setting of Eatonville for the beginning and ending of the story. By making Janie’s principal residence within the town, Hurston emphasizes that despite Janie’s numerous trials and tribulations, she still belongs somewhere. Additionally, the prestige of Eatonville establishes that all black Americans were not downtrodden and poor, and that the community was as vibrant and differentiated as any community of white people.