Reread the first three paragraphs of the novel. Hurston begins the book with an extended metaphor.  Explain this metaphor, and share your thoughts about how it will be important to the novel's meaning.  Then, comment on a classmate's interpretation 
 


Comments

11/14/2012 9:00pm

Zora Neale Hurston introduces the book with a very interesting extended metaphor. In the first paragraph, the author compares wishes and dreams to ships. The author applies this to how men think. By saying, "For some they come in with the tide," the author means that for some men, their dreams and wishes are fulfilled in time. The second statement -- "For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing..." -- speaks about those who hope for their dreams to come true, but they never do. Eventually, the dreams die, or fade, with time. Men, in other words, watch and wait for their dreams to come true, expecting them to "come" to them.
Not strictly part of the ship metaphor, but still important to its meaning, is the following paragraph, which deals with how women think in regards to wishes and dreams. In this paragraph, the author states outright, "The dream is the truth. Then they [women] act and do things accordingly." Women, the author seems to say, act in order to make their dreams become reality.
This draws a clear contrast between men and women: men wait and don't act, while women act and don't wait. This contrast is likely to become very important as the story progresses because it may cause conflict between male and female characters. In addition, it is probably at least part of a theme that will become obvious later and it seems to be one of the important things in life that the author is or is preparing to comment on. Just the fact that it appears in the first few paragraphs of the book indicates that it will play a large role in the book's meaning. Perhaps it will become something that drives the plot...

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Brady
11/14/2012 9:50pm

I do believe that this metaphor will drive the plot. This combined with the author's background make for a plot that contradicts the views of the time period.

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Mackenzie
11/14/2012 10:52pm

I most definitely agree that the contrast between men and women will become more important as the story goes on. I also agree that it will have a large role in the theme of the story.

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Brady
11/14/2012 9:49pm

The first thing that stands out about this is that she obviously has very strong feelings towards men. She says that men are always dreaming to the future while women live in the present. She also mentions that men don't act on their dreams and women live their dreams. This could also be contributed to the time period. Men didn't have a specific social view while women did. They had to satisfy this social view while also following their dreams. She says at the end that "their eyes flung wide open in judgement." This is saying that in order for women to follow their dreams they will have to deal with being judged. This metaphor is a foreshadowing of the plot. This story could follow the theme of the contrasts of men and women and the struggles that they face. This metaphor, along with the author's past, provide for a plot that will be filled with controversial topics and interesting views on them.

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11/14/2012 10:00pm

I'm glad that you connected the metaphor to the time period. This would almost definitely have been seen as controversial to the ideas and ideals of many people. This clashing of ideas and the contrast between men and women will definitely play a big role in the story. I agree with your interpretation.

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Tristan
11/18/2012 1:54pm

Interesting interpretation; I didn't think about the time period influencing the metaphor in that way. I also like how you believe it is a foreshadowing.

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Hannah H
11/18/2012 6:44pm

WOW, really good thought Brady. The connection to the time period and the use of the the quote" thier eyes flung open in judgement" really opened my eyes to a deeper perspective.

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Mackenzie
11/14/2012 10:50pm

I believe the metaphor in the first three paragraphs of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" obviously has a lot to do with dreams and goals that one has in life. The metaphot mentions how life affects our dreams, "the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time." To me this says that the day to day difficulties of life itself, and the small amount of time one is given here on this earth, plays a huge role in the success of a persons dreams. This metaphor also seems to be portraying how woman view life. Especially in the time period that this book was set around women had a lot to foget. In the second paragraph it says that "women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget." This tells us that women of that time period most likely had a lot of regrets or times of struggle throughout their lives. Overall I believe that this metaphor is a comparison between the lives of men and women of that day and age; men could dream and truly live life, while women had to watch in the shadows of men and forget all the wrong that men had done to them. An independent woman with dreams and ambitions was a rare thing. So when a woman returned home (third paragraph) from "burying the dead" and seemed to be alright, others "eyes flung wide open in judgement."

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Kelti Lorence
11/14/2012 10:56pm

I think this definitely shows another side of her metaphor not previously mentioned. Throughout the first few chapters Janie, a main character, definitely takes everything that comes her way and simply holds her tongue because attempting to stand up in that time as a woman rarely got you anywhere but abused. Also, the third paragraph seems to be especially important, as it gives examples of the struggles women have to go through, handling the judgement of every person who lays eyes on her, while keeping her eyes straight ahead and persevering through life.

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Kelti Lorence
11/14/2012 10:51pm

The book begins with, what I believe, is the main idea behind the entire book. The first two paragraphs examine the difference between how a man and woman dream, and what course their actions will take depending on the circumstance. Followed closely by a third paragraph stating "so the beginning of this was a woman", leads me to understand much of the plot will be of a woman and her dreams, and everything standing in her way. An important detail in progressing the plot, I believe, is the clumping of all men into the same, scripted way of doing things/thinking. Women on the other hand, are shown to be more independent thinkers, each with a different circumstance and therefore a different outcome to their actions and reapings.

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Mary Sine
11/14/2012 11:28pm

I think that your right about the beginning metaphor being the main idea of the entire book. You make a good point about how the plot may progress because of the detail of the clumping of all men into the same way of doing things.

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Mary Sine
11/15/2012 12:01am

The extended metaphor that begins the novel foreshadows some of the things in the plot that will happen with the main character, Janie, and her relationships. The metaphor shows the differences between the ways that men and women approached their hopes and dreams and real life. Some men know what they want and they achieve it, while other men just "sail forever on the horizon,". Whereas for women " The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly." This metaphor could also reflect the society of that time period and the differences between what was expected of men and what was expected of women during that time. Men were mainly free to do what they wanted, while women were more tied to certain social standards like getting married. But, the paragraph about how women react to dreams and how they live in the present shows that perhaps in this novel, it won't be about a feminist. Instead it may be about a woman who knows what is expected of her and decides to do this, but does it in her own way.

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Celeste Yahr
11/15/2012 12:14am

I agree with how you see the men and women metaphor. I really like the way you stated it. Showing a clear difference between the men and women and how she sees it. I also like how you brought the social standards at the time into it. I am excited to see if you are right about her doing what is expected but in her own way.

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Jonathon D.
11/15/2012 6:52am

I agree with this. I definitely think that the character Janie will eventually do something that helps out all of the other colored women in this novel.

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Celeste Yahr
11/15/2012 12:08am

"Their Eyes Were Watching God" first three paragraphs are part of an extended metaphor. In this metaphor I think Hurston was talking about the difference between what men do with dreams and what women do with dreams. She makes a very clear difference between the two. "For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes, away in resignation, his dreams mocked by Time. That is the life of men." I believe this is saying some men do find their dreams and live them out, but most men don't. Most men waste their time by watching it from a distance and never acting on it. Then by the time they decide to get serious about it it's too late and impossible to fulfill in the time they have left. In contrast she says "...woman forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly." To me this says that women realize that they may have made a mistake once, but they are going to move on and forget that. Instead they are going to focus on dreaming and reaching all of their dreams. I think that she is showing how tough women are because they don't give up. It makes it sound that men give up after it not working for them a few times, whereas the women kept going and fulfilled her dream.
I think that maybe her different views on men and women might be a major part of this book. The third paragraph talks about sudden death this could be going back to the first paragraph when it says "his dreams mocked to death by Time." I think the thought of running out of time might come back later.

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Jacob Jones
11/18/2012 6:57pm

I agree with what you said about what the metaphor meant, and that men and women dream in different ways.

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Jonathon D.
11/15/2012 6:51am

I think the extended metaphor at the beginning of the book helps describe what is going to happen later. The time period that this book is written in is after the civil war and the colored people are just starting to get some freedom. At the beginning of the book she refers to a ship and their sailors. She also says how these "sailors" have wishes as their own. She is comparing these "sailors" as how men seem to work in her mind. Supposedly to Zora Neale Hurston, men have dreams but there dreams are overwhelming and never seem to end. Now women on the other hand have dreams also but Zora Neale Hurston puts it as, "women forget all of those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget." Both of the opinions she has on men will play a big part overtime while reading the book. This extended metaphor will help us find out what the plot is and possibly more about the individual characters in the book.

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Trevor
11/15/2012 10:14pm

Nice post. I also wonder if it will directly apply to other characters in the book.

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Trevor
11/15/2012 10:09pm

The extended metaphor in the first three paragraphs is very important. It compares the mindset of men to the mindset of women. It describes a man’s dreams as “never landing”, or hopelessly lost. The author goes farther to say they are even “mocked to death by Time.” This implies that the author blames a lot of her misfortunes on the pointless efforts men put into searching for their dreams. A woman’s dreams, on the other hand, are their “truth”, and completely attainable because they have the ability to “act and do things” to make their dream a reality. The author goes on to give an example of how a woman has overcome an obstacle. She has survived people whose “eyes (are) flung wide open in judgment” and has left them in the past.
Because of the format, I would guess that this is sort of a topic sentence for the novel, so the novel will be based off this statement. I sure hope this is not the main idea of the novel because I have never ever seen a girl completely overcome judgments by other people, and I am not convinced it is possible.

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Tristan
11/18/2012 1:51pm

The first three paragraph open with the extended metaphor of peoples dreams and their relation to boats in the distance. For some men, they come true; for others, they are always hoping for them, but they finally give up on them. It then explains that women see the dreams differently, they see them as reality and act accordingly. This is important because it means Janie will be believing that her dreams can and will come true; she will keep going throughout the story as well as living her dreams as if they were there and then.

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Kendall
11/18/2012 4:21pm

I like your interpretation of the metaphor Hurston uses, and I think your right on with the idea that Janie will follow her dreams throughout the story.

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Kendall
11/18/2012 4:16pm

Hurston begins her novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" with an extended metaphor to introduce the main conflict that arises throughout the story. This metaphor compares the different mentalities that men and women have on life during this time period.
Hurston describes men's dreams as being on board ships that sail in the horizon. Some men pursue their dreams, "For some they come in with the tide", where others wait on their dreams forever expecting they while just happen, "For others they sail forever on the horizon, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation". In contrast women's mentality of life is pursuing their dream and living it. Hurston explains that women's mindset is simple, "The dream is the truth, and they act and do things accordingly".
This contrasting metaphor will be important to the novel's meaning because it is foreshadowing the central conflict of the story. The contrast between men and women during this time period gives the reader an idea of the main events that will occur throughout the story and the meaning behind them.

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Megan W.
11/21/2012 9:22am

I really like how you label the conflict as being people's dreams. We can already see how Janie's dreams and desires have caused much tension, particularly in her relationships.

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Jacob Jones
11/18/2012 6:48pm

Hurston begins the book with an extended metaphor, which explains men’s outlook on life. Hurston says in the metaphor that men’s dreams are distant or out of reach. She compares men’s dreams to ships that sail on the horizon, never out of sight, but also never landing. She means that men’s dreams are usually too distant or unreachable. In addition, she says that men have no problem distinguishing reality from illusion. However, women try to live their dreams. Hurston says that women forget aspects of their lives that contradict their dreams, so that their dreams are reality. I think that this metaphor will be important in the story because it shows that people can like their lives according to their dreams and it can affect how they act.

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Megan Wall
11/21/2012 9:18am

Zora Neale Hurston commences her novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," with a metaphor that extends throughout three short paragraphs. The beginning of the metaphor starts begins with, "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." This means that all people, regardless of gender or race, dream based on what they hope to become reality, when it truthfully may be far from happening. As the novel continues on she writes, "For some they come in with the tide," signifying that some people's dreams become reality as readily as the ocean's tides change. Hurston contrasts this by pointing out that some people may go for their whole life, or a large portion of it, being so close to their dreams that they seem just out of reach and other times, a dream comes true only when a person stops waiting for it to happen; which leads to her observation that as the dreams and wishes float on the metaphoric horizon, time passes and kills the hope people have. In paragraph two she describes women with the power to forget what they want and remember what they "don't want to forget." She goes further and mentions that women try to twist reality into the form of their dreams, rather than waiting for them to naturally come about. The third paragraph takes on a different tone and seems, at first glance, to be about an actual character in the story, but it is merely a continuation of the metaphoric picture of dreams. "She had come back from burying the dead," if a person were to read this it may seem to be literal, but it is, in fact, figurative as in she buried dead desires or thoughts. We know that it is figurative as we read the follow up statement, "not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet..." The final puzzle piece Hurston places into this metaphoric picture is, "She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment." Note that up until this point Hurston has depicted dreams as being in the ocean, and now a people are described "sodden," as in soaked with water. The additional description is "bloated," when this is paired with "sodden" it can be concluded that the people are dead, which can then be assumed that the people drowned. Drowned from what? Swimming after their dreams, perhaps.

I think this extended metaphor will be extremely important to the novel's meaning because it is the outline for the theme. Instead of searching for the major theme in the book, Hurston spends the first three paragraphs blatantly telling the readers what the book is all about.

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Ariana
11/25/2012 12:20pm

Nice job Megan, you definitely pointed out things I never thought of and made me think deeper into the text. I also like your perspective on the first paragraph I never thought that it was talking about people in general.

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Ariana
11/25/2012 12:18pm

Zora Neale Hurston uses an extended metaphor to open the book "Their Eyes Were Watching God". This metaphor foreshadows to the reader what this book is going to be about. The metaphor compares the mindset of dreams of men and women. For some men their dreams come to them, " For some they come in with the tide."; But for other men " For others they sail forever on the horizon". Men never chase their dreams but instead focus on what is right there in front of him unlike women who chase their dreams and forget the past. To women their dreams are what steers their life, " The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly." I think that Janie will go after her dreams throughout the book and won't be satisfied until she reaches those goals.

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Lacayah
11/28/2012 12:46am

In the first three paragraphs of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," Zora Neale Hurston brings up the theme of dreams. In her first paragraph she talks about how the dreams of men are like ships. "For some they come in with the tide. [...] For others they sail on forever [...] never landing." This implies that the dreams of men are simply just dreams. They're not plans or ambitions, just dreams. Therefore they don't try very hard to act on them. In contrast, the paragraph following talks about the dreams of women. "The dream is truth. Then they act and do things accordingly." This shows that women are determined to make their dreams a reality. The accept the dream as their future "truth" and then they make and follow a plan to ensure that truth.

I could see these few paragraphs being the overall theme of the book and that, in the end, readers will be able to see how the narrator came to the conclusion that is stated in these paragraphs.

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Carley
11/28/2012 10:28am

I like your interpretation of the metaphor. And I agree with what you predict will happen later in the book.

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Emily
11/30/2012 7:22am

I liked your perspective on what she was saying with the metaphor.

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Carley Crow
11/28/2012 10:24am

The first three paragraphs of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" create an extended metaphor. This metaphor introduces the theme of dreams as well as foreshadowing what is to come. In these paragraphs, Hurston compares the dreams of men and women. For men, their hopes and wishes "come in with the tide" and "for others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight..." and women's dreams are "the truth" that they then "act and do things accordingly. This reveals that the author believes that while men have dreams, they never really pursue them if they aren't practical, but those dreams never leave them. However, when a woman has a dream, she will chase after it, whatever the consequences are.
I think this will ultimately lead the story line and be the basis on the decisions characaters make.

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Mika
11/28/2012 5:13pm

I like your thought of how it will be the basis of the characters decisions. I was thinking the same thing and how it would specifically target Janie and her husbands.

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Mika
11/28/2012 5:09pm

Hurston talks about how women approach their dreams differ from how men approach them. "For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon." In this quote, she is saying that men don't approach their dreams at all unless it falls into their hands. Women, however think that "the dream is the truth." This means that women treat dreams as a reality "then act and do things accordingly." This may foreshadow how Janie approaches her goals and dreams throughout the book and perhaps the men in her life, too.

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Emily
11/30/2012 7:20am

The first three paragraphs of extended metaphor describes how men and women both deal with their dreams. For men, Hurston says "For others they sail the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by time." She is saying that when men have a dream, they really want it and watch it their entire life, hoping to get it, but he only ever gets the chance to achieve it when he's given up. Then Hurston goes on to say, for women, "Now, women forget all those things they don't want to rememeber, and remember everything they don't want to forget." This is saying that women focus on the things that they need to and forget about the rest. "The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly." I took those two lines as meaning that the women maybe have realistic goals and figure out how to reach them.

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