Their Eyes Were Watching God

Why does Hurston switch between the two styles of languages?

Hurston alternates between Standard English and the phonetically transcribed vernacular of Southern black culture. Why does she use both instead of sticking to one or the other? How does the switching between the two styles of language affect the narration and tone of the story?


Thank you

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

Throughout the novel, Hurston uses a narrative style that is split between poetic literary prose and the vernacular of Southern blacks. This style emphasizes Janie’s change from immature girl to mature woman, as she struggles to find her voice amidst the bustling throng of her already noisy life. As Janie gets older and wiser, the narration as well as Janie’s own voice change to parallel her own changes. Language and the control of it is Janie’s source of identity and empowerment.