What do a bee and a flower have in common with marriage? Even if by accident, nature intends for a mutual relationship of growth and blossoming between two partners. Zora Neal Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, follows Janie Crawford, who attempts to find herself despite the presence of extreme sexism and two dominating husbands. Janie’s husbands represent different periods in her life; each separation has a different impact on Janie by serving as a life lesson and broadening her world perspective.
Some amount of time after Joe dies, Janie marries Tea Cake and has, for the first time, a happy marriage. However, this marriage is still short-lived. Janie is forced to shoot her husband while he is under the influence of rabies in order to save herself. This later leads to a court case, which is the ultimate proving point of Janie's strongest powers: her will and choice. Janie's choice to not “plead to anybody” (Hurston 236) and to only say what she needed to proved her own power. Janie chose, against her own better judgment to speak positively about herself and Tea Cake, to only speak what she had to and then stop. Janie, at this point, even had the will to stop her own emotions from taking her decisions over. Janie has grown and developed her own sense of power just from her will to make proper decisions.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the long-lasting effects of slavery have taken a toll on Janie Crawford. Janie’s grandmother was raped by her master and had a child named Leafy. Leafy, although not born into slavery, endured a similar fate, which led her to run away, leaving her mother to raise her child, Janie. Janie’s appearance, showing strong European features, was both praised and shamed by society. This double standard was created by racism and was able to remain present due to segregation. The minds of black people have been brainwashed into thinking that people with more European features are more beautiful. Janie’s appearance models power, reflects society’s hypocrisy, and shows the distinction between the inner
Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of how one man, Tea Cake, changes how a grown woman named Janie views life, opportunity, and happiness. Zora Neale Hurston employs parallelism in order to reveal the dynamic of this relationship between Janie and Tea Cake and writes, “He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place” (Hurston 128). At the very end of the book, Hurston writes again, “Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see” (265). Hurston beautifully depicts this image of Janie’s soul emerging as a statement of her love for Tea Cake and of her vulnerability when she is with him. Likewise, at the end of the story, Janie calls on her soul to come out yet again at the moment in which she reflects upon her life with Tea Cake and in a way thanks him for allowing her to be free. In the first instance, Tea Cake is alive and physically sleeping beside Janie. However, at the end of the story, after Tea Cake has died, Janie’s adoring and loving memories of Tea Cake continue to live on and that in itself is enough to make her feel at ease. By paralleling Janie’s soul in these two moments, Hurston highlights the
Is it worth risking everything in order to be happy? In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, an African American woman named Janie makes many challenging decisions in order to be happy. This novel takes place in the 1920’s which creates many obstacles that Janie must overcome in order to achieve happiness. There are many stereotypes and inequalities during this time that make life extremely difficult for Janie. Although Janie allows others to mistreat her at points throughout the novel, she is overall an excellent role model for young readers because she overcomes several stereotypes of African American females during this time period, and she makes many difficult decisions based solely on her own happiness.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Zora Neale Hurston quotes: “She knew now that
when she addresses that Janie Starks, the protagonist, never got to fulfill her dreams. Janie’s
Zora Neale Hurston, an author during the Harlem Renaissance, wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, an amazing novel written about the losses and loves of a lady named Janie Crawford. The author describes the way Janie found out who she really was and what love was throughout her three marriages. Janie’s first two marriages were unfulfilling and not healthy for herself. Janie realized what true love was when she met Tea Cake.
Janie’s relationship with Tea Cake is the relationship in which Janie is the most happy to be in throughout the whole time they are together. When Janie moves to the Everglades with Tea Cake, he decides that she should learn how to shoot a rifle. Janie enjoyed the activity so much that “every day they were practicing...And the thing that got everybody was the way Janie caught on. She got to the place she could shoot a hawk out of a pine tree and not tear him up” (Hurston 131). Janie had never had the opportunity to learn how to shoot a gun and doing so was an activity that she enjoyed and therefore she did it every day out of delight. In Janie’s past relationships she had never really gained new skills that she enjoyed using, Tea Cake gives Janie the chance to try new things and gain new experiences unlike her other husbands where she did only what she was told. Furthermore, when Janie and Tea Cake moved to the Everglades, Tea Cake had gotten a job working at a bean field, which he later was able to get Janie to work as well. Janie had only had one job prior to this, in which she worked in the store in Eatonville where she lived with Joe, and this job was one that she did not enjoy. While Tea Cake was asking Janie if she liked working in the field with him, Janie explained that working in the field is “mo’ nicer that settin’ round dese quarters all day.
Racism can be defined as prejudice, discrimination, or contributions to a system that perpetuates the idea that one race is inferior to another. Racism was heavily enforced throughout American history, specifically in the early 1900’s. Coincidentally, this was the same time feminists, or women’s-rights activists, were in the in the midst of their fight for equality. Feminism is the theory that women should be treated equally to men in terms of social, political, and economic matters. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses the protagonist, Janie, to convey both concepts through her journey to self-love and acceptance. Due to Janie’s realization of the racial caste system and the structural misogyny in society, the focuses of
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a novel written by Zora Neale Hurston. The novel portrays Janie, a middle aged black woman who tells her friend Pheoby Watson what has happened to her husband Tea Cake and her adventure. The resulting telling of her story portrays most of the novel. Throughout the novel, Zora Neale Hurston presents the theme of love, or being in a relationship versus freedom and independence, that being in a relationship may hinder one’s freedom and independence. Janie loves to be outgoing and to be able to do what she wants, but throughout the book the relationships that she is in with Logan,Jody and Tea Cake, does not allow her to do that. Neale Hurston further supports this theme with symbolism, like Janie's hair rag that held up her
In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston develops a contrast between the male and female genders of the time period of the story, and the male and female gender of today. Hurston wrote this novel in or about a time when women were considered simple-minded , women were disempowered by the empowered man in the relationship, and women can only gain power through marriage.
Within societies, culture plays a huge role in shaping who a person becomes. What values they consent to and what would make them content and satisfied with life, otherwise said, happy. In a patriarchal racist community woman as a double minority suffer twice the burden of proving herself, defining her values, and finding what defines her. Some of these women choose to obey and submit and live life as given to them. Just a few stand up for themselves, speak up, fight toward their freedom and independence against all cultural norms and social constructions including race and patriarchy. Some people may suggest that in Zora Nelson Huston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God the main character Janie is in a continuous search for a true love. However,
The pursuit of dreams has played a big role in self-fulfillment and internal development and in many ways, an individual 's reactions to the perceived and real obstacles blocking the path to a dream define the very character of that person. This theme is evident in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is about the search for identity. A woman of a mixed ethnicity resides in several communities, each playing an important role and serve as crucial influences on her life. During the story, she endures two failed relationships and one good relationship, dealing with disappointment, death, the wrath of nature and life’s unpredictability.