Desire In Their Eyes Were Watching God

2862 Words12 Pages
Desire is a general and popular human sensation. Zora Neale Hurston discusses many instances of desire in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The novel portrays numerous varieties of desire that demonstrate the protagonist, Janie’s alteration from wanting an object to desiring a specific idea throughout the novel. As Janie acquires her own desires and possibly lives a better and more fulfilling life, Hurston indicates that these desires are in fact not structured by Janie’s own thoughts and experiences, but rather implicated by antagonists in the novel and also often making Janie the desired focus. Through the first four chapters of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston allows Janie to experience multiple life altering desires that mold her into…show more content…
Although she is the protagonist, the supplementary characters in Their Eyes Were Watching God have a different definition of what portrays as desire. Desire for them, relates to a feeling of want that can be accomplished through someone else, and also as a feeling that effects other character’s feelings. The antagonists demonstrate desire as a feeling or wanting to control someone else’s desires of wanting, like Janie. The importance of Janie going along with these peer-developed desires is that through completing them, she finds her own self-fulfillment and self-discovery. Gorman Beauchamp discusses in Zora Neale Hurston’s Other Eatonville, the connections that Hurston made between her own life and Janie’s life within Their Eyes Were Watching God. He reflects mostly on Jody’s character and states “[Jody] and his creation compose the force that stunts Janie’s growth and stifles her desires: he embodies in his considerable girth the oppressive patriarchy of feminist theory” (Beauchamp 85). This not only indicates Jody’s effect on Janie’s life, but it is also similar to the other character’s motives to Janie. These developed desires directed to Janie are seen to properly align her into where the other characters feel she should…show more content…
Janie’s succeeding sense of desire arises when Nanny catches her kissing a local boy. Nanny perceives that Janie is growing into an adult and wants her to quickly settle down into a secure place before Nanny passes away. Janie’s new desire is to stay in adolescence. She feels strongly against Nanny’s plans of marrying a man who can provide for her and to keep her from harm, because she feels that she is still a child herself and immediately regrets kissing Johnny Taylor, the local boy. In this particular scene, desire is portrayed as a nonnegotiable aspect for Janie. She wants to please her grandmother, but does not want to perform the obligations asked of her, but to satisfy Nanny, she goes through with the marriage. As a nonnegotiable situation, Janie could feel obliged to please her grandmother, making the source of the desire’s origin her grandmother rather than Janie
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