Feminism In Jennifer Jordan's Their Eyes Were Watching God

1714 Words7 Pages
The idea of black feminism is that sexism, gender roles, racial oppression, and racism are meant to fit together. This definition is idealistic and describes what Jennifer Jordan, an author and reviewer, wishes to have seen in the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Jordan argues that although this novel “provides a most effective examination of the stultification of feminine talent and energy”, Janie, the protagonist, is lacks “black feminist” characteristics. However, there are several instances in this book where one can see a feminist mentality build in Janie’s personality. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston advocates for feminist issues through Janie’s growth throughout the novel from a naive, docile wife, to an independent, confident…show more content…
Janie finds herself becoming increasingly impatient with Joe’s controlling behavior, but manages to tolerate it for twenty years. Within this time Janie feels limited by the repetitive work that Joe subjects her to in their store, and one day becomes enraged with the townspeople’s harsh remarks on Matt Bonner’s (a fellow resident of Eatonville) mule. The other residents keep the yellow mule “up for conversation every day the Lord sent” (60). Janie becomes restless at the thought of the townspeople’s remarks, and stands up to the perpetrators saying “They oughta be shamed uh theyselves! Teasin’ dat poor brute beast lak they is!” (67). Janie’s sudden outbreak for the mule suggests her identification with another victim of subjugation. She conveys her own frustrations with her unsatisfying, controlling marriage on the townspeople and there is another comparison between the mule and Janie’s character. This time, however, Janie identifies with the mule’s stubborn independence despite the people who continue to beat it down. Later, as another resident, Mrs. Robbins, comes to the store to beg for a free cut of meat, she is met with a judgemental Joe who questions Mrs. Robbins about her husband: “how can you make out you’se hongry when Tony comes in here every Satitday and buys groceries lak a man?” (86). Janie opposes the statement of a man, yet again, by professing that God “told [her]...how surprised y'all is goin' tuh be if you ever find out you don't know half as much bout us as you think you do.” (88). Janie speaks her mind and breaks free from the role of being Joe’s compliant wife by displaying courage and conviction. She also implies that women have a relationship with God in which He confides in
Open Document