Their Eyes Were Watching God Jealousness

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In “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston sees jealously as a flaw in the African American community and on a personal level as inhibitor that clouds a person’s actions, thoughts, and judgement. Throughout the story, Hurston touches on jealously in how it makes people act and how it’s an ugly characteristic to have. In the beginning of the story when Janie is reminiscing about her childhood, she talks about a young girl named Mayrella who used to bully her. “Dere wuz uh knotty head gal name Mayrella dat useter git mad every time she look at me. Mis’ Washburn useter dress me up in all de clothes her gran’chillun didn’t need no mo’ which still wuz bettter’n what de rest uh de colored chillum had,” (2, 12). Mayrella
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Turner also help illustrate race and racism in this book. Janie, the protagonist is mixed and is described to have white features. These features allow for her to experience racial attitudes from a different perspective. Throughout the book, Janie is described by her “whiteness”. As a child, she was picked on because she looked better than the other children, Logan Killicks describes her as white when she acts like she’s too good to do yard work, and her hair is described as what today people would call “good hair”, which is also white hair. Though despite all this Janie sees herself as only black. With Janie’s character, Hurston shows that “blackness” is more of a culture than a skin color. Hurston also uses Mrs, Turner to illustrate that. Unlike Janie who sees and embraces herself as a black woman, Mrs. Turner was raised with a superiority that affects how she views other blacks. Mrs. Turner is black mixed yet she looks down on blacks with darker skin tones. When describing her, Hurston states that, “Mrs. Turner’s shape and features were entirely approved by Mrs. Turner. Her nose was slightly pointed and she was proud. Her thin lips were ever a source of pride. To her way of thinking all these things set her aside from Negros,” (16, 140). Despite being black, Mrs. Turner has a negative view of darker African Americans, showing that the hatred towards other is a learned aspect in people’s lives and can even effect those in the same
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