Zora Neale Hurston once said that “No matter how far away a person can go the horizon is till way beyond you”, and in her fictional novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God Hurston takes the audience through Janie Crawford’s journey to her horizon. The novel, published in 1937 follows Janie through her three marriages to Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods. Each of Janie’s relationships move her closer and closer to her dreams symbolized as her horizon. Through her relationships with Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake, Janie gains a sense of perspective, freedom, and opportunity. Janie gained a sense of perspective about the relationship of marriage and love through her marriage with Logan. Being Janie’s first husband, Janie believed …show more content…
Quickly after leaving Logan, Janie got married to Joe; this relationship was originally healthy for Janie but as time grew on Joe began to mistreat Janie both physically and emotionally. When Joe was alive he had Janie tie up her long hair in a rag to prevent other men from admiring her feature, but when Joe passed away Janie “tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair” (Hurston 87). When Janie tears off the kerchief and lets down her hair, she realizes that she is free from the restraints that Joe had put on her appearance. Days after Joe’s death Janie continued to wear her hair down about the town symbolizing her freedom from her abusive and controlling husband. Furthermore, Janie had also gained freedom from her late grandmother, Nanny, whom had raised Janie and forced her into a marriage with Logan. After Joe’s death Janie was able accept that “she hated her grandmother and had hidden it from herself all these years under a cloak of pity...She hated the old women who had twisted her so in the name of love” (Hurston 89). Nanny had expectations and plans for Janie’s life and with the death of Joe she was able to free herself from the idea of love that Nanny had implemented on her from such a young age. Nanny had manipulated Janie’s perception of love so that she would find it necessary to …show more content…
Janie’s relationship with Tea Cake is the relationship in which Janie is the most happy to be in throughout the whole time they are together. When Janie moves to the Everglades with Tea Cake, he decides that she should learn how to shoot a rifle. Janie enjoyed the activity so much that “every day they were practicing...And the thing that got everybody was the way Janie caught on. She got to the place she could shoot a hawk out of a pine tree and not tear him up” (Hurston 131). Janie had never had the opportunity to learn how to shoot a gun and doing so was an activity that she enjoyed and therefore she did it every day out of delight. In Janie’s past relationships she had never really gained new skills that she enjoyed using, Tea Cake gives Janie the chance to try new things and gain new experiences unlike her other husbands where she did only what she was told. Furthermore, when Janie and Tea Cake moved to the Everglades, Tea Cake had gotten a job working at a bean field, which he later was able to get Janie to work as well. Janie had only had one job prior to this, in which she worked in the store in Eatonville where she lived with Joe, and this job was one that she did not enjoy. While Tea Cake was asking Janie if she liked working in the field with him, Janie explained that working in the field is “mo’ nicer that settin’ round dese quarters all day.
From the time they met, Tea Cake treats Janie like a regular person, not like how the rest of Eatonville treats Janie as being “better than” the rest of them. Janie loves being around Tea Cake because she can have fun and do “regular” things. Through his words and actions, Tea Cake gives Janie the freedom to be herself and make her own decisions, which was something she had never encountered from a man before. She is finally happy in her life. After getting married, Tea Cake and Janie move to the Everglades, a large natural environment where Janie experiences many new things, such as new cultures and work experiences.
Therefore, when he dies, Janie feels a sense of liberation and freedom. Hurston showcases Janie’s independence as she takes over management of the store. In the succeeding months, Janie meets a younger man named Tea Cake, who helps Janie discover herself. Hurston uses Tea Cake to demonstrate a healthy, balanced relationship between a married couple. Tea Cake never forces Janie to do anything against her own free will and encourages her to try
With Joe’s death also came Janie’s freedom, although Joe’s lasting influence on her made it hard to let loose and show her beauty again as she “had tried to show her shine”(90), but she is so unconfident with herself from the impact of Joe. Additionally with Joe gone, it leaves Janie alone with a huge fortune and in a vulnerable position with many people wanting to take advantage of her, causing men to question her as a woman if she can do it “by herself”(90) or if she “needs aid”(90). Lastly, Janie shows to still be affected by Joe’s efforts to keep Janie’s life mostly revolving around the marketplace, as Tea Cake brings up that she still doesn’t go watch baseball games or learn new things because she's in “uh jug”(104), that's constrained her from living. With Joe leaving Janie in a state of vulnerability, Tea Cake offered her new opportunities and made her feel wanted which led her out of Joe’s jug and into becoming an independent and willful character. In the early relationship of Janie and Tea Cake, he asks her to play checkers with him and she starts “glowing inside”(96), after the realization that she is wanted, and learns that it's okay and “natural”(96) to try something new and
For example, when she seeks love, she marries Logan. When she realizes that she cannot attain love through marriage, she desires wealth and power. In order to obtain this, Janie leaves Logan to marry Jody Starks. She is constantly moving from desire to desire every time she is unhappy with her present condition. It would be in her best interest to set realistic goals for herself, and settle in to her life in a way that will provide her with the most efficient method to obtain her goal.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie merely wants to love someone, but that choice is ripped out of her hands when Nanny makes her marry someone she does not love. This marriage as well as another one does not work out because she never learns to love them. Finally, she meets Tea Cake, and falls madly in love with him even though he is a lot younger than she is. He is someone that she can truly love while still being able to be herself. They go through their struggles as well and sadly, he dies by the end of the novel.
The novel 's plot is driven by Janie 's series of relationships with different men: a kiss with Johnny Taylor, followed by marriages with Logan Killicks, Jody Starks and finally, Tea Cake. Logan Killicks and Jody Starks see Janie as defined by her relationship with them, and expect her to be obedient, silent and proper. Jody sees her as a kind of ornament that bolsters his social standing and that helps to justify his efforts to assert control over everyone, men and women alike. Tea Cake, in contrast, defines himself not by political power but rather by his physical strength and ability to have fun. Even while Tea Cake treats Janie as an equal, there still exists a certain power struggle in Janie 's relationship with him, as her increasing ability to recognize her needs as an individual throughout the novel emerges in response to Tea Cake 's treatment of her.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the long-lasting effects of slavery have taken a toll on Janie Crawford. Janie’s grandmother was raped by her master and had a child named Leafy. Leafy, although not born into slavery, endured a similar fate, which led her to run away, leaving her mother to raise her child, Janie. Janie’s appearance, showing strong European features, was both praised and shamed by society. This double standard was created by racism and was able to remain present due to segregation.
Self-discovery is essential to a prosperous life. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie, the main character, discovers who she is through her relationships. Janie learns from each of her experiences, but the most significant are her husbands: Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake. Each of these people attempt to control her thoughts and actions, but Janie rebels against them. Janie stands up for what she believes in, and through these confrontations, she better understands herself.
Nanny who has been Janie’s caretaker has several hopes and dreams for her granddaughter. Nanny is not entirely perfect at her job of raising Janie, since her dreams for her are clouded by her own scarring experiences. Nanny attempts to insure a better life for Janie by forcing her to marry Logan Killicks, an old and wealthy man. Blinded by her own dreams, hopes, and desires, Nanny makes many impositions on Janie, “Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy, Janie, Ah’m a cracked plate” (Hurston 20).
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, we follow our protagonist, Janie, through a journey of self-discovery. We watch Janie from when she was a child to her adulthood, slowly watching her ideals change while other dreams of hers unfortunately die. This is shown when Jane first formulates her idea of love, marriage, and intimacy by comparing it to a pear tree; erotic, beautiful, and full of life. After Janie gets married to her first spouse, Logan Killicks, she doesn’t see her love fantasy happening, but she waits because her Nanny tells her that love comes after marriage. Janie, thinking that Nanny is wise beyond her years, decides to wait.
In the beginning Janie feels as if Tea Cake’s age would effect their relationship. She has strong feelings for him, but on the other hand people are saying he will run off with her money. Janie proves them wrong and runs off and gets married to Tea Cake. He makes Janie feel wanted, she feels like she could be herself. Janie states, "We been tuhgether round two years.
She meets Tea Cake, falls in love, and later marries him. This marriage is by far the most special and unique marriage Janie has had. Her relationship with Tea Cake is her first true love; which consists of affection, happiness, understanding and everything else that follows. This marriage makes Janie feel like she has a second chance in life to relive her youth. Janie has lots of fun and is truly blessed and happy with Tea Cake.
In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the protagonist Janie, is influenced by others to change her ideals. Hurston vividly portrays Janie’s outward struggle while emphasising her inward struggle by expressing Janie’s thoughts and emotions. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening the protagonist is concisely characterized as having “that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions,” as Janie does. Janie conforms outwardly to her life but questions inwardly to her marriages with Logan Killicks, her first husband, and Joe Starks, her second husband; Janie also questions her grandmother's influence on what love and marriage is.
Next, Janie continues on her determined journey for love when she goes off to marry Tea Cake. In the quote,
Women are confined to single roles and are expected to be submissive and respectful. When Joe married Janie, he forced her into a role of subservience. Hurston indicates that Joe attempted to mold Janie into what white women do on a daily basis which is to “sit on their high stools on the porches of their house and relax.” Doing this, Joe believes he is granting his wife all the wishes she ever wanted while neglecting the fact that Janie takes pleasure in the simple things in life like chatting, laughing, fishing and dancing. “Janie [especially] loved the conversation[s]” that took place on the porch and sometimes “she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge” because he didn’t want her to talk after those “trashy people” (Page 104).