The “Rock Pile” by James Baldwin and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston are two stories that examined black male resistance to emasculation. The men in these stories lived in patriarchal societies, and they reaped the benefits of a structure that favored men. In both of these stories, the male characters are dominant figures in their households, and when they felt like their manhood was being attacked, they retaliate viciously. In “Their eyes were watching god”
In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Janie is held back from growing to her full potential. Janie is married three times and in each marriage there is one item that restrains her. In her marriage with Joe she was forced to wear a head rag to cover her hair because it is so long and beautiful. The red rag resembled the restraint Joe put on Janie.
In the books, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and Cane by Jean Toomer, spiritual elements are displayed in the characters and their actions. While the books show these spiritual elements in most of their characters, the women in particular are other-worldly and out of reach. These characteristics are not only emphasized by the protagonists themselves but also by the characters around them, especially, although it is unknowingly, by the men. In Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie is a goddess for many characters throughout the novel, especially Pheoby and Mrs. Turner.
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston explains the journey of Janie, the main character,who struggles to find her independence and a place where she feels comfortable. She undertakes a bold journey to find her own self. She goes through several relationships, thinking they would somehow fulfill her life, but all fail because Janie does not feel content or the relationship leads to the death of a spouse. In the end, Janie uses her desire for power and independence for freedom to reveal that she does not need an unpleasant relationship to fulfill and appreciate her search for her true self. First, Janie struggles with her relationship with her first husband, Logan.
African Americans thrived in American culture during the 1920’s, as the Harlem Renaissance invigorated and empowered people of color to create artistic and literary works. The expressive movement allowed Africans to gain a new identify in America and prove their worth in a predominantly white society. The African American literary prolificacy soon ended as the Great Depression caused colored people to return back to their pre-established assumptions of artistic inadequacy and incompetence. The decline in the American economy increased political and social tensions, resulting in the return of African American discrimination. Zora Neale Hurston addresses the recurrent African oppression in the 1930’s with her publication, Their Eyes Were Watching
In marriage, a man should possess certain qualities in order to be a good husband. In a man’s marriage, he must provide both financial, and personal support. In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, characters Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake all have some of these qualities in their marriages. Therefore, Janie’s first husband Logan does not provide support for her and has very poor qualities in their marriage. He requires Janie to do unnecessary work on his farm and is not a supportive husband.
Most teenagers struggle with finding themselves. Sometimes, this struggle continues for their entire life. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston emphasizes that life-long battle. She shows her readers that everyone toils with finding themselves and that loving someone won’t always help them find their identity. She uses many symbols to help describe this struggle.
Being mature is usually correlated with older age, but that’s not necessarily correct. Everyone has been told to “grow up” at some point, have been expected to be sophisticated no matter their age. Maturity does not depend on age because parents raise children in varying ways and have experienced unique learning opportunities, and strive for incomparable goals in life Someone’s childhood can affect the way they act in the long run. As a child, my parents took me to fancy restaurants and museums which taught me how to behave in a mature manner and, by forcing me into “adult” settings, I learned how to be mature even as a preadolescent.
Initially, Janie was portrayed as obedient and submissive yet over time she developed into an independent woman who defies the stereotype of females in her time period. Throughout Janie’s younger years, she fits the common mold for gender roles of the time period through passive and overly dependent behavior. This behavior is mostly seen during her relationships with Logan and Joe Starks. “In the few days to live before she went to Logan Killicks [...]
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.
The Desire for Independence and Happiness Individuality is the quality that makes people and things diverse from one another. Individuality is a significant feature for all people. Individuality gives everyone their own unique personality and is achieved with independence. Janie lacks the independence she needs to show her individuality and is longing to earn it back. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie is unhappy and hopeless with her constraints and doesn’t waste any time to express her newfound happiness when she discovers it.
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.