Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

697 Words3 Pages
Porch. A covered shelter projecting in front of the entrance of a building. This inanimate object served to develop various themes throughout the book, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. She reveals the theme of jealousy and envy, gender inequality and a sense of community with the help of the porch.
When Janie first arrives to the town, she is greeted by envious glares and cruel remarks from the porch sitters. “Seeing [Janie] as she was” made them remember the “envy they had stored up from other times.” Their jealousy ate them them through till they couldn’t take it any longer. They made “burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters;
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Women are confined to single roles and are expected to be submissive and respectful. When Joe married Janie, he forced her into a role of subservience. Hurston indicates that Joe attempted to mold Janie into what white women do on a daily basis which is to “sit on their high stools on the porches of their house and relax.” Doing this, Joe believes he is granting his wife all the wishes she ever wanted while neglecting the fact that Janie takes pleasure in the simple things in life like chatting, laughing, fishing and dancing. “Janie [especially] loved the conversation[s]” that took place on the porch and sometimes “she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge” because he didn’t want her to talk after those “trashy people” (Page 104). The porch also gives a clear vision of the how segregation in this town of Eatonville. Men sat around on the porch and played games but women were not allowed to participate in these activities because it lacked “class.” However, clearly not all men are alike so when Tea Cake came along, Janie felt the freedom she never experienced in her past relationships. Even before meeting Tea Cake, the death of Joe exonerated Janie from the shackles that were placed on her individuality and "[she] did what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation." (Page
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