Examples Of Biblical Allusions In Their Eyes Were Watching God

940 Words4 Pages

Intro: There are many biblical allusions in Their Eyes Were Watching God, but the analysis that I am going to present delves the higher meaning of a simple three word phrase that is traditionally overlooked by readers.
“Old as Methusalem”
Now before I go into the aspects of this quote as they pertain to Their Eyes Were Watching God, it is important to have a quick overview of who this biblical allusion refers to.
CLICK
According to Infoplease.com, Methusalem is a figure from the Hebrew Bible who lived to be older than any other biblical figure at the age of 969. He was descended from an important line of men that begins with Adam from the Garden of Eden and ends with Noah who is best known from the story of Noah’s Ark. Methusalem was Noah’s …show more content…

That is correct, Sita.
CLICK
Now before I delve into the intricacies and implications of this simple saying, I want to give you some context.
At this time in the novel Janie and Jodie have been married for several years. Janie has submitted herself to Jody completely and in their marriage Jody has not recuperated Janie’s compliance by any means that Janie values. In the specific incident that this biblical allusion of age is set, Janie has made a simple mistake in cutting some chewing tobacco the wrong way.
Now let’s look at how Jody responds to this seemingly insignificant incident.
“A woman stay round uh store till she get as old as Methusalem and still can’t cut a little thing like a plug of tobacco.”
At the most basic level, the phrase ‘old as Methusalem’ is used by Jody as a thinly, if at all, veiled insult meant to epitomize Janie’s aging. Jody doesn’t find it necessary to deride Janie’s appearance because he finds her aging to be inauspicious, but rather because his egotistical nature is making it arduous for him to accept his body’s transformation. Although he calls Janie “old as Methusalem” he is implicitly expressing his fears of age and in doing so, reveals his own diffidence about his increasingly antediluvian …show more content…

Female incompetency, as it is perceived by men, is used as justification for the inferior status of women. With this mindset, the biologically simpleminded nature of women makes them useful for domestic services and pretentious display, while regulating their public presence. This gender inequality that Janie faces throughout the novel due to the stereotypes and conclusions of the patriarchal society in which she lives, is a main theme in the novel, and the phrase “old as Methusalem” is a microscopic introspection of this theme.
Now to move onto a different, much more intricate interpretation of the phrase “old as Methusalem,” if you took note, in the quick biography about Methusalem, I mentioned that he died nine days before the great flood that obliterated everything on Earth except for Noah’s ark and those it sheltered. Later on in Their Eyes Were Watching God, an important biblical allusion is that of the great flood because it serves as a major turning point in Janie’s life.
It is interesting that of all the parallels Hurston could have used to show Janie’s aging, she specifically used Methusalem because Methusalem died just before the great flood in the Bible because God deemed that a man as righteous as Methusalem must not be carried from the Earth in that way. Later in Their Eyes Were Watching God, the Everglades flood and this can be seen as

Open Document