Their Eyes Were Watching God

Uses of Metonymy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses metonymy several times in order to express motifs which appear throughout the novel. For instance, one of the clearest examples of metonymy, the porch, appears as a whole or general entity, which Hurston uses to describe specific elements of Janie's experience, in this case, the people, or particularly, the men. The porch represents a community, a cooperative body of people. At the end of the day, Hurston notes, the porch serves as a place to relax for the black people, after, "Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins" (1). Here, people gather to socialize, becoming one body, an example of metonymy.

Most importantly, the porch acts as a gathering place for Eatonville's men to engage in discussions and forums. For example, Hurston states, "The porch was boiling now. Starks left the store to Hezekiah Potts, the delivery boy, and come took a seat in his high chair" (66). This quotation shows the conformist nature of the black men of Janie's community. Instead of describing how Lige Moss, Sam Watson, or others boiled, Hurston depicts them as a collective body where all share the same ignorant sentiments and views and find themselves...

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