Symbolism In Their Eyes Were Watching God

1200 Words5 Pages

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a story written about a woman by a woman. It is often looked at from a feminist point of view. It is often thought that Hurston wrote the novel with that intention. In the novel readers see Janie develop into a strong woman through the trials that she endured. Janie worked hard to overcome the oppression of being an African American woman in the early 1900s. Hurston uses a mule, more specifically Matt Bonner’s mule, to symbolize Janie and all African American women because like African American women, mules are not held in high regard and work from the bottom, bearing the weight of many other that rely on them and their work. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Matt Bonner’s mule is used to …show more content…

For this reason it is believed that it was written for readers to see that Janie saw bits and pieces of herself in the mule. Janie is the one who pushed Joe to buy the mule. It is possible that Janie’s sympathy towards the mule was based on seeing herself in the mule. It is ironic that Joe saw himself as “liberating” Matt Bonner’s mule in the same way that he saw himself “rescuing” Janie.That, along with other similarities between Janie and the mule further solidifies the symbolism between Janie and Matt Bonner’s mule. Joe felt that he was helping them by saving them from what he believed was wrong, but Joe saving them was just away for him to have more control. For example, he forced Janie to tie her hair up and dictated where she could go. After Joe saved the mule and it died he threw the mule a mock funeral. Joe even restricted Janie from going to the funeral for the mule that she wanted to save.Due to the opinions of Joe Starks about women or Janie that he himself states it can be inferred that Joe feels the same way about them both. The actions and opinions of Joe Starks throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God supports the idea that Matt Bonner’s mule is being used to symbolize Janie, therefor supporting the idea that Matt Bonner’s mule symbolizes African American women of the time as a

Open Document