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In Pursuit of the Harmonious World

Author ChenHaiYun
Tutor GuoLei
School North China Electric Power University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords ecofeminism patriarchy self-pursuit harmony
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Zora Hurston is a prominent Afro-American female writer, folklorist, and anthropologist. As her masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered as the literary classic of black Americans, the literary classic of feminism and the American literary classic in the 20th century by the American litterateurs and critics.As Hurston’s masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God can be interpreted in a variety of angles. This thesis attempts to study Their Eyes Were Watching God based on ecofeminist theory. Ecofeminism focuses on studying the relationship among literature, culture, nature, and female. As a branch of literary criticism, ecofeminism studies on the literary text from the double perspectives of women and nature so as to change the other and marginalized position of women and nature. Finally it devotes to awakening humans’ecological consciousness and feminist consciousness. Ecofeminists regard nature as female’s friend. They think that patriarchal culture’s oppressions on women and nature are consistent. It is committed to research on the environmental issues and gender issues from the perspective of literary criticism. Its aim is to change the way of humans’views and attitudes towards women and nature. And it also can accelerate the harmonious development of relationship between natural world and human society, and the relationship between men and women.Their Eyes Were Watching God explores the existent relationship among human beings, nature and other species, and the relationship between men and women. It touches upon the topics of ecofeminism, such as gender, patriarchy, etc. The author hopes to build up a harmonious and vital world, in which all elements are equal and they constitute an organic unity. Ecofeminism takes a positive action to search for the absences of nature and female in texts. It advocates ecological and cultural diversity and claims to deconstruct the thinking mode of western binary oppositional culture, which is in the dominant position. Under the influences of this mode, both women and nature are objects oppressed by logocentrism. Taking the mule-like fate of black women as starting point, this thesis analyzes the mutual relationship between the oppression of black women and the exploitation of nature in a male-dominated society based on the basic ecofeminist ideas. By means of Janie’s fighting against patriarchal oppression, her close to nature, and her pursuing self-realization, this thesis aims at deconstructing anthropocentrism and subverting patriarchal system. And it advocates setting up an ideal world of harmonious coexistence of human and nature, men and women, and all other living things.

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