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The south in this case represents the black people who include the Africans, Jews and the black Americans. Generally, they are assumed to be the inferior race in the world because of their skin color. The representation of the south is well outlined in the works by Zora Neal Hurston's 'Their Eyes were Watching God' and William Faulkner's 'The sound and the Fury'. Throughout their work several things are very clear on the perception of the south by the whites and even how they perceive themselves.
In Hurston's work, it is notable that the blacks were viewed to be less important in the community. This is clear because when Janie, a black young girl, takes a photo with white kids in the neighborhood they all make her feel inferior in the neighborhood. A white woman even laughs at her when she sees the photo. The kids tell her that she is nobody, just a servant's grand daughter who lived in a white man's backyard. The grandmother had to buy a farm and a house for herself and her grand daughter. On the other hand, in William's book, Jason as he narrates about his family, who are blacks, he makes belittling remarks about them and even Jews. He thinks of them as being minorities. This shows lack of self esteem and lack of willingness to fight on to prosperity.
In both books, tradition is of great importance. In William's work when Caddy gets pregnant before marriage and later her marriage does not work out her brother, Quentin, commits suicide. When Janie meets Tea Cake she prefers not to think about him romantically because he is younger than her and this is against traditionally accepted values (Their Eyes were Watching God). They also both believed that women were the weaker sex. This is shown when Janie's grandmother, Nanny, advocates that Janie should get married so as to be protected by her husband. She says that love does not have to exist as it will come in due time. Caddy also gets married just because she is pregnant though her husband later rejects her (The Sound and the Fury). Also in Hurston's book Joe, Janie's second husband, gets very offended when she challenges his decision in front of other men.
Jealousy is also evident as Janie's husband forbids her from showing off her long attractive hair and insists that she should always cover it with a piece of cloth so that other men do not see it and admire her. In William's book, Quentin had once picked a fight with one of Caddy's lovers and was always jealous of his sisters' romantic affairs. Jason on the other hand had even trailed his niece, Quentin, when he spotted her over lunch break with a man in a red tie.
Some black people however believed in their capabilities. For example Joe in Hurston's work had bought land, was running for mayor and was a post office man. Nanny, Janie's grandmother, also purchased her own farm and house where she lived with her grand daughter due to the white kids who always discriminated her (Faulkner 102).
The blacks were being abused by their white employers. This is evident as we are that Janie's mother was born after Nanny had been raped by a white man (Hurdson). In William's book, Disley who worked as a maid also complained of being abused.
In 'Their Eyes were Watching God' the black people are described as people who strived to improve themselves. They were out to improve themselves and they cared about each other. This is also seen in William's books as Caddy was considered as a huge part of her brothers' lives'. In William's book money is not the first priority to the blacks as Caddy's mother burns checks given to her from Caddy yet they wee facing hard times. This however is not the case in Hurdson's book as we see Tea Cake taking Janie's two hundred dollars and disappears for two days. Her friend had also warned her that Tea Cake was just after her money. It is also believed that Janie had been attracted to her second husband because of the belief that he was rich (Hurston & Pinkney 66). He showered her with all the gifts she wanted. The blacks are represented as fortune seekers in this book.
Marriage in 'Their Eyes were Watching God' was viewed as a sacred relationship mainly for protection but in 'The Sound and the Fury' did not really approve marriage as Caddy had been rejected by her husband. From the above analysis, it is clear that though there may exist several differences in the views of the authors; the message is that there need to be equality irrespective of what race we ail from. We are all one people and should live together in harmony always; we should live like brothers and sisters.
The blacks are viewed as the race that should be inferior and should wait to be led by the whites who see themselves as being superior. These are just mere perceptions of how things should be and not necessarily how they ought to be. If the blacks just sit back and accept these perceptions, they will continue to be inferior. However, if they stand up for themselves and try to improve their status, like Joe and Nanny did (Their Eyes were Watching God), they will prosper and be respected. After all, we are what we make ourselves to be. We are in charge of our own destiny.
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