Feminist Theory - "Their Eyes Were Watching God"


Lesson Plan


By teaching Zora Neale Hurston's book according to the feminist theory, students will be able to apply the components to not only Their Eyes Were Watching God, but other literature as well. They will therefore learn the aspects of the feminist theory, and gain a more conclusive outlook into how women are viewed and portrayed, how women write, and the difference between a man's and a woman's power. Finally, but looking at Their Eyes Were Watching God through a new outlook, students will gain further analysis of the novel.

Preparation and Materials:

  • A copy and prior reading of Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Other literature or short stories written by a woman and/or documenting a woman's development of her power, in order to further understand the feminist theory as well as more accurately contrast Their Eyes Were Watching God to other feminist literature.
  • Background knowledge of the views of the time period, in order to understand the historical significance of the literature, as well as contrast female figures to others of the era

Activity and Use of Instructional Time 

  • Debate of whether the women or the men of the novel more effectively demonstrated/wielded their power
  • Comparison of the women of novel to the women of the time period of the setting
  • Comparison of the writing of Hurston to other female writers
  • Discussion of Hurston's intention or views of documenting a strong, independent woman and/or her success in creating another social option for women


By the end of this unit, students should be able to:
  • Receive a new piece of literature and analyze the components of the feminist theory present
  • Effectively present a contrast between views of the time period and the actions of the women of the novel, and furthermore state the significance of the author documenting this contrast
  • Provide evidence from the literature on the different ways the sexes demonstrate their power
  • Take an informed side on which sex has more power in the relationship and in society, and provide evidence from literature


By completing this lesson, students should be able to grasp a further historical knowledge in terms of the development of women's power in society. In addition, by learning how to apply the feminist theory to literature, they should be more capable to furthermore analyze literature to other separate theories.