Their Eyes Were Watching God Identity Analysis

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Identity is composed of not only self-perception but also the perception of others. Consequently, relationships are vital in the forming and expressing of one’s identity. Healthy relationships allow for the expression of oneself without fear of consequences, whereas unhealthy relationships put pressure on one to change for one’s partner. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God explores the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, focusing on how each affects the expression of one’s identity. Her novel’s exploration of relationships and their relation to identity reveals that one’s identity can only emerge from healthy, loving relationships. Hurston portrays this exploration through the unhealthy relationships…show more content…
As a matter of fact, Tea Cake empowers Janie and allows her to make her own decisions. This quote takes place during a conversation in which Janie reveals her plans to marry Tea Cake. With this in mind, it is significant because it demonstrates how Janie has finally broken free of the control of others and is now making decisions for herself. She isn’t chasing after wealth, as her grandmother desired, but love, what her heart desires. Notably, she is initiating a relationship with Tea Cake of her own volition. Clearly, then, this is because Tea Cake has helped empower her to do such things. She is no longer scared to express herself. Additionally, Tea Cake treats Janie with respect and as an equal. Tea Cake plays a game of checkers with Janie in this quote. Markedly, Tea Cake treats men and women relatively equally, believing they both have the right and intelligence to play the same games. He participates in the same activities as her, implying that she is just as capable and deserving of engaging in these activities as he is. In other words, he treats her as his equal. This moment is further representative of how Tea Cake is receptive to her desires and feelings. Others would disregard or put down her feelings, but with Tea Cake, they are accepted. She can express her identity with Tea Cake without

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