Janie would be able to choose to have a relationship with Tea Cake instead of it just being a step up of what she previously had this relationship would be her own decision and it would not be used as a getaway from other marriages. When Janie decides that she can trust Tea Cake this could also suggest that this thought about Tea Cake could be challenged and he will do things that could possibly break Janie’s trust that she has created with him. With this you can see how much Janie has grown from her past relationships and how she has taken something from each one. This helps her come into womanhood and really grow overall as a
Janie’s struggles played a huge role in finding her self relevance. People, life, words, rumors, and love all made impacts on her appearance and actions. Joe Starks made her life tougher and treated her like she was banal and small. Joe did not like the fact that Janie’s beauty attracted other men to her, so Joe made her look superior so they did not try anything. All Janie wanted was to join in on the conversations around her, but Joe thought otherwise.
He strolls into Janie’s shop after Joe’s death to begin his courtship, however, Janie doesn’t believe he is being sincere and brushes off his advances. This all changes after Tea Cake does something no one ever considered for Janie, he teaches her to play checkers. With this he planted the first seed of love in Janie’s heart without her recognizing it. Tea Cake and Janie eventually fall for each other and decide to move to the Muck where Janie begins to work alongside Tea Cake. This provides an excellent example on the true love Janie holds for Tea Cake because she refused to work in the fields with Logan Killicks, her first husband, for even a day.
Killicks treats Janie very badly and overworks her, Janie decides to leave him for a new man named Joe. When Janie first meets Joe, she is astounded by his ambition, the way he carries himself, and his promises of fulfilling her dreams by giving her a new life of not having to do labor. As soon as Joe meets Janie he says to her, "You behind a plow! You ain’t got no mo’ business wid uh plow than uh hog is got wid uh holiday! You ain’t got no business cuttin’ up no seed p’taters neither.
Together, they moved to the Everglades and harvested beans while living in a small hut. These sacrifices were worth it for Janie though. She was willing to give up everything to achieve her dream of love, which she found with Tea Cake. In this relationship, Janie was free to interact with the people around her, which Jody prohibited her from doing before, and was encouraged her to interact in activities with Tea Cake. Janie’s past relationships all helped her understand that her love was Tea Cake was real and what she had been searching for.
Zora Neale Hurston utilizes three narrative strategies, including authentic dialect and free indirect discourse, to communicate the themes and larger messages of the novel in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston uses authentic dialect to give each character a voice and bring them to life, which is essential to the reader’s understanding of the novel. Specifically, this narrative mode is crucial to moments when Janie finds the confidence to voice her thoughts and opinions. However, this dialect only hints towards the novel’s themes, failing to convey the overall message of the book. In comparison, Hurston is able to reveal Janie’s deeper thoughts and corresponding revelations through free indirect discourse as well as convey the larger messages
Tea Cake is introduced as a clever, younger man that Janie takes interest in. Janie clearly pays attention to this man because he is handsome and actually wants her to play checkers with him, which Jodie Starks always forbid her to do. She realizes this and explains, “Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play. That was even nice”
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston depicts the life of Janie Crawford, and the adversity she endures. During this time, many adhere to traditional gender roles. Men are the authoritative figures who hold positions of power while women take care of the house and the family. Janie’s past husbands, Logan Killicks and Joe Starks, and Nanny force her to maintain this customary role as a wife; however, Tea Cake breaks this mold, showing Janie how to break these rules. From the start, Nanny inculcates in Janie these beliefs and the importance of marriage.
Tea Cake brings new light to Janie's life. Janie mourns for Jody’s death as expected in her society but decides she is done mourning when she meets Tea Cake, a man who respects her and treats her equally. Janie is faced with the town's gossip and has to make a decision to either stay in the town as a lonely widower with a fortune or run away with Tea Cake, a not well off man who is 12 years younger. Janie decides to run away with Tea Cake who truly loves her and the age gap does not affect his decisions, Tea Cake exclaims, “You’se de onliest woman in de world Ah ever even mentioned gittin married tuh. You bein’ older don’t make no difference.
After hearing her say this about him Joe slaps Janie, which isn’t something a good husband would do. This situation is what causes the marriage to really go downhill, and soonafter Joe gets sick and he dies, while still fighting with Janie and overall being a bad
Zora Neale Hurston was a well-known anthropologist and novelist in the 1920s, whose works of literature became popular throughout the Harlem Renaissance. One of her most famous works was Their Eyes Were Watching God, which she wrote while traveling in Haiti. It follows the life of Janie Crawford, a mixed-race girl looking for true love in post-slavery Florida. An important aspect of this novel is Janie’s three marriages, none of which worked out the way she wanted them to. Another one of Hurston’s works was a short story entitled “Sweat”, which is also about a black woman named Delia who has issues with her husband.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston introduces readers to the life of Janie Crawford living in rural Florida during the early twentieth century. During this time, women, specifically black women, were considered to be property of men in the south. Legally, women had no voice. Janie Crawford, as well as many others find themselves in a society expecting more out of life than what the time period has to offer. Through love affairs, catastrophes and death, Hurston shows readers how a small voice can make a difference.
Tea Cake on the other hand allows Janie to truly experience life by treating her as an equal and showing her what real love is like. After the hurricane, when Tea Cake becomes ill and starts to lose his mind he becomes very emotional and tells Janie that she could have any guy that she wants, she reassures him of her feelings. “Maybe so, Tea Cake, Ah ain’t never tried tuh find out. Ah jus’ know dat God snatched me out de fire through you. And ah loves yuh and feel glad” (180).
Self-expression is a form of empowerment which Janie demonstrates throughout the novel as her confidence grows. When Janie expresses her emotions and thoughts, she comes to know herself. Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, as a young married wife, Janie is constantly patronized and overruled by Joe’s wishes. Her inability to make her own decisions prevented her from forming connections with the people around her. At one point Janie chimes into a discussion being held by Joe and some of the other men in the town.
Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Ernest J. Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying, while completely different in terms of plot and writing style, are both prominent american literary works. The similarities that they do share are the key reasons why the novels are such enduring works. Their novels both contain a number of similar themes, impressive uses of the different figurative elements, and (arguably the most important similarity) well-written characters that are dynamic and unique. Hurston and Gaines' characters Janie and Jefferson, through their evolving relationships and the personal growth they illustrate throughout their stories, describe the necessity of adversity and human connections in order to achieve self respect.