Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This essay argues that temporality becomes inseparable from the intersectionality of race and gender in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. By emphasizing the need to negotiate unequal, androcentric conventions, Hurston historicizes the experience of time as predetermined, restricting, and subjugating from the position of a Black female subjectivity. In response, Hurston develops a strange temporality necessitating refusal through successive negations that, paradoxically, advance this subject toward greater autonomy. Hurston combines linearity and non-linearity to capture this dialectical conflict, instantiating in novel form the autonomy and agency that Lindsey Stewart aligns with a “politics of Black joy.” This process defines what I call Hurston’s temporality of refusal, which renders the novel coextensive with a form of becoming that is otherwise unavailable across Hurston’s transnational contexts.

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