A Reactionary Tale Embalming Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Though the novel represents many feministic ideas in relation to marriage, it should not be read and discussed solely from this perspective. This statement is commented by Ramsey who claims that the story is “both a precursor to the modern feminist agenda yet also a reactionary tale embalming Hurston’s tender passions for a very traditional male” (1994: 38). In spite of the fact that the scholar agrees that Janie gains some self-belief and self-realization in the course of time, he still perceives her as a woman who cannot survive without a man by her side who would support her. It seems that she has a strong need to have someone by her side to support her when something goes wrong. This argument is confirmed by another researcher, Jennifer Jordan, who states that the protagonist “never perceives herself as an independent woman” (1988: 115). Interestingly, in all her relationships, Janie`s partners were the strongest ones who needed to show their dominance.
Further, the traditional division of gender roles and male dominance is visible throughout all three marriages of the protagonist of the novel. Janie suffers from double physical violence and, as Trudier Harris argues, becomes an object of
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In the novel, he is referred to as “a glance from God” (Their Eyes Were Watching God: 161). There are two instances in which Tea Cake’s masculinity and protectiveness towards Janie are shown. He covers his wife when a rabid dog tries to attack her. As a result, Tea Cake is bitten by it and has a wound on his cheek. Janie, though scared to death, appreciates these grand gestures. His commitment to her is reassured once again in this scene. In the second example of his protectiveness, Tea Cake helps Janie to survive the hurricane. Unfortunately, after a while his health starts to deteriorate and his “sick headache that made him lie down for awhile” (Their Eyes Were Watching God: 1990:
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