High schools are full of teenagers who are searching for their identity and self-expression. Despite its profound position, the novel Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston has been challenged of its place in high school student's education by parents and educational groups. Their main argument implied that the novel contained sexual explicitness, obscenity, racial remarks and vulgar reasons as such. However, Their Eyes were Watching God should contain its place in the high school English curriculum because of two reasons: its significance in American History and the moral of love and self-expression.
First, this book withholds too many important factors in American history to be left out. Hurston uses various quotes in order to express the hardships of African-Americans during the age of slavery. For example, Nanny explains to Janie how Leafy (Nanny's daughter) was raped by white men and their masters. "Dat school teacher had done hid her in de woods all night long, and he had done raped mah baby and run on off just before day" (Hurston 93). By using verisimilitude of blacks' inferiority to whites, Hurston successfully achieves in displaying the cruel and ridiculous conditions of slavery. Even after the Civil War, Leafy was molested, thus came Janie. Furthermore, Hurston writes about segregation, even within the black society. After Janie Crawford, the protagonist of the story, and Jody Starks, Janie's second spouse, enter Eatonville, segregation is clearly shown. "The rest of the town looked like servants' quarters surrounding the 'big house'" (148). Jody's wealth and his white-like accent becomes a median for him to take control of Eatonville. .
Other habitants of the village remain as a "servants quarter" for Jody. Readers can infer that there resides segregation and a differentiation in social class, within the black community. In addition, this novel holds a prominent rostrum as a masterpiece during the Harlem Renaissance.