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Published: 11-11-2019

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Uses of Metonymy in Their Eyes Were Watching God

In Their Eyes Had been Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston utilizes metonymy a number of occasions in order to express motifs which seem all through the novel. For instance, one of the clearest examples of metonymy, the porch, appears as a complete or general entity, which Hurston uses to describe certain components of Janie’s expertise, in this case, the individuals, or specifically, the guys. The porch represents a neighborhood, a cooperative body of folks. At the finish of the day, Hurston notes, the porch serves as a spot to loosen up for the black people, after, “Mules and other brutes had occupied their skins” (1). Right here, folks gather to socialize, becoming 1 physique, an example of metonymy.

Most importantly, the porch acts as a gathering location for Eatonville’s males to engage in discussions and forums. For instance, Hurston states, “The porch was boiling now. Starks left the shop to Hezekiah Potts, the delivery boy, and come took a seat in his higher 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 other folks boiled, Hurston depicts them as a collective body exactly where all share the identical ignorant sentiments and views and find themselves unwilling to profess a distinct set of opinions. They boil, laugh, and cry at the very same time for the identical causes. The “boiling” does not apply to Jody’s porch itself, but the guys which occupy and define it. Plus, this example shows that Jody’s porch holds a central part in the community and reinforces his part as the leader ­the 1 who sits in the “high chair.”

Moreover, the males typically engage in misogynistic talk, as Hurston describes the black female encounter. She notes, “That was what the porch was waiting for. They burst into a laugh.” When a destitute, but persistent mother begs Joe for a tiny cost-free sustenance from his retailer (73). By laughing at her, the entire porch humiliates her, ensuring that she, as properly as other ladies, remain decrease than males. This quotation shows how the males, in their conformity, mistrust the woman and minimize her to an inferior status, realizing she need to subordinate herself to them to survive and taking advantage of that. Hence, Hurston vents her distaste with certain spineless black males. Nonetheless, this metonymy represents both the negative and the positive of black life: the collectively oppressive force of black males as well as a sturdy sense of neighborhood.

Yet another example of metonymy seems in chapter six. Right here, the mule roughly represents the black lady an example of metonymy exactly where one word substitutes one more that appears closely linked. Even though most readers do not often see the comparison of a black woman to a mule, in black tradition and in the black knowledge, this comparison usually surfaces. As a black female writer, Hurston most likely chose this metonymy for its empathy towards the black woman. As Nanny forewarns Janie in her younger years, “De nigger lady is de mule of de world so fur as Ah can see” (14). Nanny also confesses that she prays Janie can get a much better life. Yet, the way Matt Bonner starves his mule of food reminds the reader how Jody starves Janie of independence. Janie empathizes with the poor creature when, “Five or six much more males left the porch and surrounded the fractious beast, goosing him in the sides and producing him show his temper. But he had more spirit left than physique. He was quickly panting and heaving from the effort of spinning his old carcass about. Everybody was getting fun at the mule-baiting. All but Janie” (57).

The mule represents the black lady, especially Janie, a mulatto. Like the half-horse, half-donkey mule, Janie comes from the merging of diverse parents, a single black and a single white. The two words even sound alike. Even Joe’s buy of the mule serves as a clever metaphor for Jody’s exploitation of the townsfolk, especially the woman, to glorify himself. Jody buys the mule not to save it from its master’s torment, but to convince the folks of his kindness and charity, which he indeed lacks. He for that reason prohibits his wife from attending the funeral due to the fact the entire charade strikes Jody as a gathering where he can as soon as again market himself.

Yet, he must rid himself of Janie, who may well protest against the spectacle. Despite Janie’s absence, the buzzards speak for her when the Parson asks, “What killed this man?” To which the crowd of buzzards replies, “Bare, bare fat.” Meaning the cruelty and starvation the mule endured at the hands of Matt Bonner (62). This echoes the plight of the black lady, who continually finds herself tormented, controlled, starved, exploited, and beaten by the black man, supposedly her counterpart and supporter. This metonymy serves to depict the toilsome struggles of Janie and her peers through the pathetic and saddening life of the yellow mule.
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