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Love In Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Love, in its original meaning, is an unconditional action of putting someone else’s welfare before one’s own. As the world has grown older, mankind’s definition of love has been warped and has dwindled down to nothing more than a fickle feeling of affection and romantic attraction– into something conditional and usually very temporary. The idea of love has been reduced to an ideal of reciprocity; “love” has become self-serving instead of self-sacrificing. Unfortunately, love often dies because of one or another person’s selfishness and pride. Pride and love engage in war in every relationship and, unless love is in its true form (unconditional), pride strangles it. In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, there are three relationships…show more content…
Janie, at first, doubts Tea Cake loves her because of her age and then, on account of her fortune, fears he may have married her only to run off with her money. However, Tea Cake proves through and through that he loves Janie for Janie and treats her with love accordingly. Though Janie and Tea Cake’s marriage is not perfect, (such as when he beats her to show Mrs. Turner and her brother that he is in possession of Janie) she has found the “bee for her bloom” in Tea Cake. Willingly, unlike with Killicks who would have forced her, Janie works with her husband in the fields when she and Tea Cake make a home in the Everglades (184–185). When jealousies arise through the flirtation of Nunkie, a girl who takes a liking to Tea Cake, Janie and Tea Cake fight but talk through and express their feelings over the flirtation to one another until each gives in and they become united once more (188–191). This jealousy is completely unlike Jody’s jealousy of men looking at Janie’s hair in the store; where Jody refuses to open up and explain his feelings to Janie because of his pride, Tea Cake and Janie are able to communicate their emotions to one another and resolve the tension. While her other two marriages were action based and emotional deaths of love, the pride that kills Janie’s third marriage is a physical death. Tea Cake pridefully refuses an offer to take Janie and escape from the Everglades before the hurricane comes upon them. Tea Cake tells ‘Lias, who has offered he and Janie a ride out of the Everglades “Man, de money’s too good on the muck. It’s liable tuh fair off by tuhmorrer. Ah wouldn’t leave if Ah wuz you… De white folks ain’t gone nowhere. Dey oughta know if it’s dangerous” (214–215). Instead of relying on the natural, God-given signs (Indians and animals fleeing), Tea Cake pridefully relies on his desire to keep bringing in money and on the fact that the white men have not left. Tea Cake
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