The Most Influential Writers to Revive Hurston’s Literature Was Alice Walker

Categories: Alice Walker

Author of ‘The Color Purple.’ Alice Walker is a poet, author, and most importantly, and the most relevant to this story, she was a women’s rights activist. I believe she picked up Hurston’s novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” because it has so many turns and it talks about men. Men who tried to change a woman’s perception of herself without her even knowing it until she left them. According to, Jennifer DeVere Brody states that, “Alice Walker was absolutely instrumental in allowing a much larger audience to even know about Hurston.

I think at the time, 1979, when she did her first essay on Hurston, all of Hurston’s books were out of print.” (

According to scholarblogs, it states that, “In 1973 Alice Walker, American writer and activist, went on a journey to Florida to find Zora Neale Hurston’s unmarked grave. In the process she recovered a lot of Hurston’s work, including Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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In 1975 Walker submitted an essay to Ms. Magazine, a liberal feminist publication, titled “Looking for Zora”. ( Here, she denounced the initial criticism of Their Eyes for being overly dismissive and doing a disservice to the establishment of African American literature by “throwing a genius -Zora Neale Hurston- away.” ( Following this recovery of the novel, Robert Hemenway wrote Hurston’s biography in 1977. The power of these measures contributed to propelling Their Eyes Were Watching God back into the scope of mainstream literature.

The novel was put back into print in 1978 and sold over 200,000 copies in the following 10 years (Carby).

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” ( “Hurston was a forgotten writer until Alice Walker reached through the mists of time, blew the dust away from the covers, and re-introduced Hurston’s work into American literature.” Walker understood and shared Hurston’s struggles as a female, and African American writer. Walker felt that people like Hurston were often forgotten about because people didn’t understand their writing. Hurston revealed the truth of her life through the character Janie. Her re-discovery of Janie Mae Crawford, a woman sent off into a loveless marriage by her grandma, then rolling in the tide with a controlling, second husband, Jody, and swept away in love with Tea Cake until Janie finally discovers herself alone, finally seeking peace, shows how Hurston was able to put her secrets onto paper and create a masterpiece. READING: During the course of this semester, I read the book.

The reason I read it to have a clearer understanding of what she felt. I also read it to see why it received so much backlash in the beginning. I never can understand it due to the fact that I wasn’t living during the time. Books are meant to be exciting. They’re meant to distract you from reality even if it is just for a few minutes, hours, or days. Hurston’s mind is brilliant. She was ahead of her time. She wrote a book about a woman overcoming failed relationships and relocating her old self. When I read the first page, the second paragraph stuck out to me the most, and to this day, I recite and think about it. Hurston states, “Now women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget.” (page 1.) I think that this has such value to Hurston because the whole book revolves around Janie whose destiny was chosen for her when she was only a teenager. She went through so much and she’s gone through many marriages and relationships where she’d let a man determine who she was.

She proves that a woman can try hard to impress a man, but when they do it, they lose themselves through the process, and we should never allow that to happen. On Page 112, “Jody classed me off. Ah didn’t. Tea Cake ain’t draggin’ me off nowhere ah don’t want tuh go. I always did want tuh git around uh whole heap but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh.” In the book, to paraphrase it, she states that a woman chooses her own destiny themselves. Quotes in the book that stuck out to me: As I was reading the book, I decided to jot down sticky notes on pages that contain quotes that meant something to me and that also made me think. Page 21, “Finally out of Nanny’s talk and her own conjectures she made a sort of comfort for herself. Yes, she would love Logan after they were married.” Janie did not love Logan. Her grandma saw her kissing a boy for fun and got upset. She sent Janie off to marry Logan and she thought that marriage meant love. It did not mean that.

Sometimes a lot of people end up thinking that if you get married, it’ll create a love that isn’t there. It’s sad thought, and very untrue. On Page 25, it says, “She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” This quote is really sad. Janie married Logan, someone her grandma set her up with. And she was obviously not happy in this marriage. Its sad that she went from thinking love was something magical to realizing it doesn’t really come easily or quickly or that it shouldn’t be or feel forced. Also, a few pages before she thought it would help her love him, and then she realized that marriage doesn’t create love. On page 71, “Dat’s ‘cause you need tellin’,” he rejoined hotly. “It would be pitiful if Ah didn’t. Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they show don’t think none theirselves.” Janie is now with Jody, also known as Joe. He does not treat women equal.

He always treated Janie as his little companion. She couldn’t do things he did not approve of or even go out with her hair down just because a man was caught touching it lightly. She was really held back when she was with Jody. She also had to stay in their store and run it. While doing my reading, I thought Tea Cake was a good person. I thought that him and Janie were good together and that she finally settled down with someone worth her time. That is until I further read, and caught on with his fake good man act. He is not a good man. Hurston talks about different figures of men in her book to justify her reasonings for hopeless love. She talks about men who don’t care about you, men who treat you terribly verbally, and men who treat you terribly, physically. Tea Cake hits her. He does it to reassure his possession of her.

Yes, Tea Cake has now claimed Janie as an object. I think it’s upsetting how someone with kind eyes as Tea Cakes can turn out to be the demon you’re fighting against and you don’t even realize it until you’ve lost all courage to speak up for yourself. I guess Hurston shows what that looks like. It is a hopeless love. You can’t think you have it all and assume that there’s not one thing clawing in the middle of the relationship. He’s abusive because he’s jealous. But it literally doesn’t justify his actions. It’s crazy how in the book, someone was praising him for being able to keep Janie locked in his arms. Hurston shows that men were really out there praising this type of behaviour as if women were worthless. For the last four months, I was able to appreciate and acknowledge a writer I never knew about. I am disappointed at myself for not knowing who Zora Neale Hurston was. But I can now say that I do. She was and will always be a genius.

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The Most Influential Writers to Revive Hurston’s Literature Was Alice Walker. (2022, Apr 08). Retrieved from

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