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# Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We

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Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Jan 2019, 00:47
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Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) has been the primary influence on some of the most accomplished Black women writing in the United States today. Indeed, Alice Walker, the author of the prize-winning novel The Color Purple, has said of Their Eyes, “There is no book more important to me than this one.” Thus, it seems necessary to ask why Their Eyes, a work now viewed by a multitude of readers as remarkably successful in its complex depiction of a Black woman’s search for self and community, was ever relegated to the margins of the literary canon.

The details of the novel’s initial reception help answer this question. Unlike the recently rediscovered and reexamined work of Harriet Wilson, Their Eyes was not totally ignored by book reviewers upon its publication. In fact, it received a mixture of positive and negative reviews both from White book reviewers working for prominent periodicals and from important figures within Black literary circles. In the Saturday Review of Literature, George Stevens wrote that “the narration is exactly right, because most of it is dialogue and the dialogue gives us a constant sense of character in action.” The negative criticism was partially a result of Hurston’s ideological differences with other members of the Black Americans in literature. Black writers of the 1940s believed that the Black artist’s primary responsibility was to create protest fiction that explored the negative effects of racism in the United States. For example, Richard Wright, the author of the much acclaimed Native Son (1940), wrote that Their Eyes had “no theme” and “no message”. Most critics’ and readers’ expectations of Black literature rendered them unable to appreciate Hurston’s subtle delineation of the life of an ordinary Black woman in a Black community and the novel went quietly out of print (out of print).

Recent acclaim for Their Eyes results from the emergence of feminist literary criticism and the development of standards of evaluation specific to the work of Black writers; these kinds of criticism changed readers’ expectations of art and enabled them to appreciate Hurston’s novel. The emergence of feminist criticism was crucial because such criticism brought new attention to neglected works such as Hurston’s and alerted readers to Hurston’s exploration of women’s issues in her fiction. The Afrocentric standards of evaluation were equally important to the rediscovery of Their Eyes, for such standards provided readers with the tools to recognize and appreciate the Black folklore and oral storytelling traditions Hurston incorporated within her work. In one of the most illuminating discussions of the novel to date, Henry Louis Gates Jr., states that “Hurston’s strategy seems to concern itself with the possibilities of representation of the speaking Black voice in writing.”

1. The passage suggests which one of the following about Harriet Wilson’s novel?
(A) It was written at the same time as Their Eyes Were Watching God, but it did not receive as much critical attention.
(B) It greatly influenced Black women writing after the 1940s.
(C) It was widely read when it was published but it has not received attention from literary critics until recently. c
(D) It was not formally published, and the manuscript has only recently been discovered by literary critics.
(E) It did not receive critical attention when it was published, but it has recently become the subject of critical study.

2. The passage offers support for which one of the following statements about literary reviewers and Their Eyes Were Watching God?
(A) Their Eyes was widely acclaimed by reviewers upon its publication, even though it eventually went out of print.
(B) The eventual obscurity of Their Eyes was not the result of complete neglect by reviewers.
(C) Some early reviewers of Their Eyes interpreted the novel from a point of view that later became known as Afrocentric.
(D) Their Eyes was more typical of the protest fiction of the 1940s than reviewers realized.
(E) Most early reviewers of Their Eyes did not respond positively to the book.

3. Which one of the following best states the main idea of the passage?
(A) Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God had little in common with novels written by Blank authors during the 1940s.
(B) Feminist critics and authors such as Alice Walker were instrumental in establishing Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as an important part of the American literary canon.
(C) Critics and readers were unable to appreciate fully Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God until critics applied new standards of evaluation to the novel.
(D) Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God was an important influence on the protest fiction written by Black writers in the mid-twentieth century.
(E) Afrocentric strategies of analysis have brought attention to the use of oral storytelling traditions in novels written by Black Americans such as Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.

4. According to the passage which one of the following is true of Black folklore traditions as used in literature written in the United States?
(A) They are an aspect of Black American literature first recognized and written about by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
(B) They were not widely incorporated into novels written by Black Americans until after the 1940s.
(C) They were first used by a novelist in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
(D) They were not incorporated into novels published by Black Americans in the 1940s.
(E) They are an aspect of Black literature that some readers did not fully appreciate until relatively recently.

5. The passage suggests that Native Son differs from Their Eyes Were Watching God in which one of the following ways?
(A) It received fewer positive reviews at the time of its publication than did Their Eyes.
(B) It is less typical of literature written by Black Americans during the 1940s than is Their Eyes.
(C) It is less focused on an ordinary individual’s search for self within a Black community than is Then Eyes. c
(D) It denies more aspects of Black American folklore than does Their Eyes.
(E) It has received more attention from feminist and Afrocentric literary critics than Their Eyes.

6. Which one of the following provides the clearest example of the kind of fiction that many Black writers of the 1940s, as their views are described in the passage, believed should be written?
(A) a novel that focuses on the interrelationships among four generations of Black women
(B) a historical novel that re-creates actual events that occurred as Black people suffered from oppression and racial injustice in a small town
(C) a novel, based on biographical stories orally relayed to the author as a child, that describes the development of traditions in a Black family
(D) a novel that explores the psychological aspects of a relationship between a White man and a Black man as they work together to organize protests against unjust working conditions
(E) a novel that examines the different ways in which three Black children experience their first day of school in a rural community

7. The author would be most likely to agree with which one of the following statements about the relationship between art and literary criticism?
(A) The long-term reputation of a work of art is less dependent on the response of literary critics than on the response of readers and authors.
(B) Experimental works of fiction are usually poorly received and misunderstood by literary critics when they are first published.
(C) The response of literary critics to a work of art can be determined by certain ideological perspectives and assumptions about the purpose of art. c
(D) Literary critics do not significantly affect the way most people interpret and appreciate literature.
(E) The ideological bases of a work of art are the first consideration of most literary critics.

8. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) correct a misconception
(B) explain a reassessment
(C) reconcile two points of view
(D) criticize a convention

Originally posted by dharam44 on 19 Jan 2019, 09:03.
Last edited by Gladiator59 on 21 Jan 2019, 00:47, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We  [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2019, 01:21
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Re: Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We  [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2019, 21:27
akanshaxo wrote:

2. The passage offers support for which one of the following statements about literary reviewers and Their Eyes Were Watching God?
(A) Their Eyes was widely acclaimed by reviewers upon its publication, even though it eventually went out of print.
The book was not widely acclaimed. It gained good reviews in recent years.
(B) The eventual obscurity of Their Eyes was not the result of complete neglect by reviewers.
Correct. The author mentions that unlike White's book, Their eyes wasn't immediately rejected by critics on its inception.
(C) Some early reviewers of Their Eyes interpreted the novel from a point of view that later became known as Afrocentric.
Not mentioned in the passage
(D) Their Eyes was more typical of the protest fiction of the 1940s than reviewers realized.
Their eyes was actually more atypical
(E) Most early reviewers of Their Eyes did not respond positively to the book.
We don't know that most didn't. We only know that the book received mixed reviews- as mentioned in lines two and three of the second paragraph
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Re: Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We  [#permalink]

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24 Jan 2019, 23:37
Rmel wrote:
akanshaxo wrote:

2. The passage offers support for which one of the following statements about literary reviewers and Their Eyes Were Watching God?
(A) Their Eyes was widely acclaimed by reviewers upon its publication, even though it eventually went out of print.
The book was not widely acclaimed. It gained good reviews in recent years.
(B) The eventual obscurity of Their Eyes was not the result of complete neglect by reviewers.
Correct. The author mentions that unlike White's book, Their eyes wasn't immediately rejected by critics on its inception.
(C) Some early reviewers of Their Eyes interpreted the novel from a point of view that later became known as Afrocentric.
Not mentioned in the passage
(D) Their Eyes was more typical of the protest fiction of the 1940s than reviewers realized.
Their eyes was actually more atypical
(E) Most early reviewers of Their Eyes did not respond positively to the book.
We don't know that most didn't. We only know that the book received mixed reviews- as mentioned in lines two and three of the second paragraph

Ah! I misinterpreted the question.
Thanks for clarifying!
Re: Many literary scholars believe that Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes We   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2019, 23:37
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