Their Eyes Were Watching God Racism Quotes

1339 Words6 Pages

Their Eyes Were Watching God “One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself” (Shannon L. Alder). Many African American women during the 1930’s including the character Janie Crawford in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston can strongly relate to this quote. In a time period where several groups of people are being categorized by gender, race and many other factors, Janie overcomes these throughout the novel. The novel addresses the concepts of racism and discrimination, the oppression of women, and finding oneself throughout life. As a biracial woman living in the 1930’s, Janie faces racism all throughout her life. She grows up with a white family and does …show more content…

All women during the 1930’s faced oppression to some extent but black women in particular had it much worse than white women. "So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule ud de world so fur as Ah can see" (14). In Janie’s first marriage to Logan Killicks he often wants her to do hard physical labor on the farm. While married to her second husband Joe Starks, Janie is forced to run his store as an employee, and at the same time Joe becomes the mayor of a new African American town and discovers his big important voice, Janie is silenced. When a couple citizens ask for a speech from the new mayor they suggest “Mrs. Mayor Starks” say a few words, as the crowd starts clapping for Janie, Joe promptly cuts them off. “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no speech makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s a woman and her place is in de home” (43). As she is degraded in front of everyone, Janie quickly realizes that she is not allowed to speak her mind or even be her own person. Joe also makes Janie tie up her long hair simply because he doesn’t want other men to see it. These are just a few examples of Janie slowly losing herself in the …show more content…

Janie goes from being in an arranged marriage as a young girl, to an emotionally and mentally draining marriage filled with roles and expectations, to the marriage that makes everything clear for her. As Joe lies on his deathbed, Janie speaks her mind after a long marriage of being silent. She tells him how poorly he has treated her, and that she just wants him to know what kind of a woman she is. “Ah ain’t here tuh blame nobody. Ah’m just tryin’ tuh make you know what kinda person Ah is befo’ it’s too late” (85). Tea Cake on the other hand allows Janie to truly experience life by treating her as an equal and showing her what real love is like. After the hurricane, when Tea Cake becomes ill and starts to lose his mind he becomes very emotional and tells Janie that she could have any guy that she wants, she reassures him of her feelings. “Maybe so, Tea Cake, Ah ain’t never tried tuh find out. Ah jus’ know dat God snatched me out de fire through you. And ah loves yuh and feel glad” (180). The reader really gets a sense of how strongly Janie feels for Tea Cake and how perfectly content she is with him. Finding that kind of genuine happiness is a very important piece to feeling complete in life. When Janie is young she lays underneath a pear tree in her grandmother’s yard, watching bees as they pollinate. “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the

Show More
Open Document