The sounds of Zora Neale Hurston's Their eyes were watching God: blues rhythm, rhyme, and repetition

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katherine Anne Zimmerman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Noelle Morrissette

Abstract: Although many critics have noted the blues themes, characters, and settings in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, none addresses the way Hurston recreates elements of blues music in her novel. This thesis aims to establish the ways Hurston uses blues musical techniques in Their Eyes Were Watching God, arguing that scholarship fails to address three critical components of blues music that Hurston weaves throughout the text: rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. The thesis argues that Hurston's use of blues music in the novel developed from her initial, focused research on sounds. Hurston's understanding of music evolved from her dedication to sound studies; her use of the rhythm and rhyme of blues music allowed her to capture the vernacular of the South on the page. My analysis shows how the blues of Hurston's novel not only manifests thematically, as others have argued, but that the vernacular prose is lyrical; it rhymes, moves, and sounds like a blues song.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Blues, Hurston, Music, Sound, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Vernacular
Hurston, Zora Neale. $t Their eyes were watching God $x Criticism and interpretation
Blues (Music) in literature
Blues (Music) $x Influence

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