Finding One's Identity In Their Eyes Were Watching God, By Zora Neale Hu

897 Words4 Pages

In the novels, The Things They Carried, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Invisible Man, there is a similarity to the way the stories are told, and how the novels connect to finding the identity of the characters. Throughout the novels, the authors connect the common shared idea of finding one’s identity using storytelling in the books. In the novels, Tim O’Brien, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston illustrate how finding one’s identity with the use of storytelling and characters is valuable in the novels they wrote. In The Things They Carried; Tim O’Brien illustrates the concept of finding the identities of his characters in the novel through Mary Anne Bell in the chapter “Sweetheart of The Song Tra Bong”. Throughout this chapter, …show more content…

Hurston’s novel shows the identity of her characters through their thoughts, wants and longings. Janie Crawford is the main character of Hurston’s novel, and she is judged most of her life by her appearance and her background. “The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grapefruits in her hip pockets” (Hurston 2). From this quote, Janie is being seen only for her body and her looks by men, which happens to her all throughout her life. Janie’s search for her identity lasts throughout the novel and in the beginning, Janie never found her identity like most characters had in the novel like Logan Killicks or Tea Cake. “Aw, Aw! Ah’m colored!” (Hurston 9). Just from this quote, it’s clear that Janie doesn’t realize she’s black or different from the other kids that she lived with, until she saw the picture, which shows that she never grasped her sense of identity and she searches for the answer to this only to find that in the end, what she was really searching for was love and the freedom she yearned for from the hold she’s been in for such a long time. This shows her identity and Hurston illustrates Janie finding her identity for herself along with the freedom and love she longed …show more content…

The narrator defining himself as invisible shows how he feels unrecognized and unseen, and through the novel, he defines this repeatedly. “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (Ellison 3). In the prologue, the narrator clarifies that he already showed himself as invisible, though he later says he doesn’t complain. The invisible man’s identity relies on the narrator. Through the novel, the narrator is shown being unseen though as the novel progresses, there is a sense of the narrator losing his invisibility, like when he had disguised himself as Rinehart, he sees an unfamiliar perspective and notices more things that he usually wouldn’t see, or the people that wouldn’t see him before, they saw him then. “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free” (Ellison 243). Being that the narrator names himself as invisible, the invisible man seeks self-discovery and even though he goes on this journey, the invisible man doesn’t achieve his unseen goal of finding his identity. Ellison illustrates the idea of finding one’s identity through the narrator of his novel, and though there isn’t a successful end to his search, the invisible man finds his inner soul through the novel in his

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