Their Eyes Were Watching God, penned by Zora Neale Hurston, bears a major life question: how is happiness reached? Hurston uses Jannie, Nanny, Jody, and Tea Cake’s experiences to show how a person reaches happiness. Hurston’s creation of Janie’s and Nanny’s relationship shows the contradiction of feeling secure and feeling happy. Nanny’s struggles in life edged Janie to her first marriage with Logan Killicks. Nanny was born a slave who had meager rights, which contributed to her being raped and the subsequent birth of her daughter. This lead to Nanny wanting Jannie being married as soon as possible, Nanny explains, “Janie, youse got yo’ womanhood on yuh. So Ah mount ez well tell yuh whut Ah been savin’ up for us spell. Ah wants to see you …show more content…
The relationship began with Jody and Janie both loving each other, but ended with Jody’s selfishness taking away almost two decades from Janie’s life. Jody places restrictions on Janie because he sees her as a trophy to show off, Jody states, “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. A pretty doll-baby lak you is made to sit on de front porch and rock and fan yo’self and eat p’taters dat other folks plant just special for you” (Hurston, 29). This leads to Janie being confined to the post office and Jody seeking more power in Eatonville; Jody states, “Ah told you in de very first beginnin’ dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad, ‘cause dat makes uh big woman outa you” (Hurston, 64), showing how he is only interested in his status in the town not Janie. He expects Jannie to quietly obey because he believes women are incapable of doing anything, Jody states “Dat’s ‘cause you need tellin’," he rejoined hotly. "It would be pitiful if Ah didn’t. Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves” (Hurston, 71). Janie's confinement leads to her quietly obeying Jody, a power driven man, who ignores her love that slowly dwindles away as his greed grows. Hurston demonstrates through Jody’s …show more content…
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. Don’t never consider dat no mo’” (Hurston, 121). When Janie is with Tea Cake she leaves her wealth to work on a farm in the Everglades. Janie has the option to stay at home, the role women mainly took, but decides to work on the farm to keep Tea Cake company, Tea Cake admits “Ah gits lonesome out dere all day ‘thout yuh” (Hurston, 133). Hurston emphasizes their relationship because Janie's goes against what is expected and finds happiness alongside Tea Cake and still has it when he passes, Janie reveals, “The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Her was peace. She pulled in her horizon…” (Hurston
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In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the story revolves around the protagonist, Janie’s, experiences in three different marriages. First, with a man named Logan Killicks who has the money and land to provide Janie with security. Then, a rich leader and pioneer named Joe Starks. And finally, with a young man who could only provide Janie with his love and best effort, Tea Cake. Although these three relationships never lasted, through each relationship Janie was able to grow.
Misguided Assumptions Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Hurston, is the story of Janie Crawford, a black woman with beautiful Caucasian-like hair and her pursuit for love. Janie meets Joe Starks while she is married to her first husband Logan Killicks. Janie chooses to leave her first husband to marry Joe with the hope of finding the love she had envisioned as a young girl. Unfortunately, Jody’s love of wealth and power is much stronger than his love for Janie.
Jody is charismatic and ambitious, and Janie is initially drawn to his confidence and vision for their future. However, Jody is also controlling and belittles Janie, refusing to allow her to express herself or engage with the community. Their marriage ends when Jody becomes ill and dies, and Janie is left feeling unfulfilled and stifled. As Janie reflects on her marriage to Jody, she remarks, "She was old before her time. She sat in the house and watched the sun go down" (Hurston 89).
Throughout the book Their Eyes Were Watching God, the eyes of individuals started opening to God’s work that occurred, but Janie’s eyes became open to God’s gift that he held for her for decades; which portrays itself as self-revelation. The exposition of Janie has already formed her to become unknowledgeable to her worth. The care that Janie intended to have for people allowed her to maintain betrayal and internal damage through years at a time. Dramatic events Janie briefly went through gave her permanent feelings about living for herself, instead of living for others and seasonal expectations. Citizens of Eatonville felt that God’s gift led them to destruction; however, the gift of God led Janie to reconstruction of progress, self-love,
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston expresses Janie 's hunger to find true love which aided Janie 's quest to have satisfaction within herself. A quest is a long or arduous search for something that is trying to be embraced. In Janie 's three marriages she gained strength, courage and wisdom in hope to find her truest self. Janie 's first marriage with Logan Killicks was arranged, and forced upon by Nanny.
Pheoby is the only one who can defy the assumptions made by the town and redirect Janie’s story as seen by the community. As Pheoby is talking with the other women in the town, they start to gossip about Janie. Pheoby defends her, pointing out that shes never done anything “so bad as y’all make out[.]” and “aint never harmed nobody”(3). The third-person narrative reveals how the people in the town despise her for irrational reasons, and how it is up to Pheobe to suppress those reasons. Janie is painted as someone who is not part of the neighborhood, so she needs someone who is to tell her story in a way that will be listened to.
Janie learned the hard way that you actually have to love someone for your marriage to go anywhere and last long. Her first run through was with Logan. Janie only married him because of her grandma and for “protection”. We know this because Nanny tells Janie “‘Tain’t Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it’s protection.
The novel “Their eyes were watching god” takes place during 1937. This time period is shortly after the women’s rights movement, and this is very critical to the novel and its characters as well. Janie, is a women of a new era and she is expected to do more than just domestic chores, she is expected to have opinions and feelings. Janie, is always the leading role in every relationship. Tea Cake plays a very significant role in her life but she always is always the main focus.
Their Eyes Were Watching God “One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself” (Shannon L. Alder). Many African American women during the 1930’s including the character Janie Crawford in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston can strongly relate to this quote. In a time period where several groups of people are being categorized by gender, race and many other factors, Janie overcomes these throughout the novel. The novel addresses the concepts of racism and discrimination, the oppression of women, and finding oneself throughout life.
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.
People come into our lives for different reasons. Some leave a positive impact, while others bring negativity. Readers and critics alike have treasured Zora Neale Hurston’s 20th century novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, for generations particularly for its complex portrayal of the different main characters. The people a person meet and the experiences that person many go through in their lifetime can alter a person significantly. Through the tyrannical words of Joe Starks and the inconsiderate actions of Nanny, Janie in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is negatively influenced as her actions and thoughts alter her life.
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.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Hurston develops the theme of love and power with repetition. Throughout this novel Janie varies from marriages with men who desire wealth and power. However, eventually Janie finds a true love in Tea Cake. The most pervasive theme in Their Eyes Were Watching God is the search for love. Zora Hurston develops this theme through the repetition of relationships.
As Janie becomes a more self-assured woman, she drifts further and further away from the cultural norm. This is illustrated through the different relationships she develops on her quest. She begins reliant upon Nanny and marries Logan, both who represent the older generation with more traditional values. She then runs away from the “protection” that Logan provides for Joe Starks, who represents stability and ambition. Janie’s first two disastrous marriages help her eliminate the possibility of ever finding happiness with a more “conventional” man, one that society would approve of.