Style of the opening sentences in each chapter

“The years took all the fight out of Janie’s face. For a while she thought it was gone from her soul. No matter what Jody did, she said nothing. She had learned how to talk some and leave some. She was a rut in the road.”

(Hurston 77)

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Janie had had no chance to know things, so she had to ask. Did marriage end the cosmic loneliness of the unmated? Did marriage compel love like the sun the day?”

(Hurston 21)

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York :Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006.


At the start of each chapter Hurston poses a overarching statement or slice of wisdom. Often it is about the passage of time, the experience of marriage, or otherwise a beautiful introduction to the chapter. This is my favorite stylistic choice by Hurston because it draws the reader into the chapter and promises a compelling narrative.