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
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“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is a novel written by Zora Neale Hurston. The novel portrays Janie, a middle aged black woman who tells her friend Pheoby Watson what has happened to her husband Tea Cake and her adventure. The resulting telling of her story portrays most of the novel. Throughout the novel, Zora Neale Hurston presents the theme of love, or being in a relationship versus freedom and independence, that being in a relationship may hinder one’s freedom and independence. Janie loves to be outgoing and to be able to do what she wants, but throughout the book the relationships that she is in with Logan,Jody and Tea Cake, does not allow her to do that.
Janie’s grandma made efforts to warn Janie of the systematic hardship she’ll endure as woman of color. (p.14) Nanny essentially told her that in terms of societal value, black women were the most taken for granted, for they’re the “mules uh de world” as far as she knew. Nanny was constantly urging Janie to find a man because of this. She believed that a man could better her granddaughter, whether there was requited love or not, by providing security and financial stability. Janie tried to refute this idea that only a man could complete her life.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the long-lasting effects of slavery have taken a toll on Janie Crawford. Janie’s grandmother was raped by her master and had a child named Leafy. Leafy, although not born into slavery, endured a similar fate, which led her to run away, leaving her mother to raise her child, Janie. Janie’s appearance, showing strong European features, was both praised and shamed by society. This double standard was created by racism and was able to remain present due to segregation.
Jody’s image of Janie changes her into someone who she is not, submissive and non independent. Again, Janie’s marriage was not made in love and she was trapped. Unlike Logan, Janie puts up with Jody for 20 miserable years before she is finally freed by his death. To Janie, Jody’s death is an eye-opener. Janie is no longer going to settle for less than what
” Everybody in Janie's community knew that Janie's dad was a white rapist and her mother the product of a white slave owner and a black slave woman, and how Janie's birth was a result of race victimization. Since everyone would talk about her background Janie had to learn to handle this inheritance and others’ condescension with strength, grace and
People come into our lives for different reasons. Some leave a positive impact, while others bring negativity. Readers and critics alike have treasured Zora Neale Hurston’s 20th century novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, for generations particularly for its complex portrayal of the different main characters. The people a person meet and the experiences that person many go through in their lifetime can alter a person significantly. Through the tyrannical words of Joe Starks and the inconsiderate actions of Nanny, Janie in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is negatively influenced as her actions and thoughts alter her life.
When tea cake shows up janie 's feels something she has never felt before, she is set free but the townspeople don 't think so. “‘Ain’t you skeered he’s jes after yo’ money him bein’ younger than you?’” (Hurston pg.133)Janie is in love with Tea Cake because he loves her for her youthful young side that was forced into hiding for so long because of her previous husbands. However the rest of the community is discouraging her and trying to keep her in the image as a mayor 's wife. They told Janie that Tea Cake was after her money
Surprisingly, she is a black woman herself. She believes that white people are superior to the black race. She is different from Janie because did not mind people. In fact, she loved them since her husband was black. Mrs. Turner would have been suited for Logan Killicks because he was a white, wealthy man.
She meets Tea Cake, falls in love, and later marries him. This marriage is by far the most special and unique marriage Janie has had. Her relationship with Tea Cake is her first true love; which consists of affection, happiness, understanding and everything else that follows. This marriage makes Janie feel like she has a second chance in life to relive her youth. Janie has lots of fun and is truly blessed and happy with Tea Cake.
(Hurston 55). By using phrases such as “set on it” and capitalizing words such as “not,” Hurston emphasizes the fact that Joe was not going to change his decision or let Janie violate it under any circumstances. Not only does Janie not have the courage to speak up about her discomfort with the head rag, but Joe never gives her the chance to do so either. It is paramount to note that Joe is the person of power in the relationship between himself and Janie because of his role as mayor of the town and his assertion of this role throughout their relationship. Though this shouldn’t matter in terms of their relationship, Joe continually characterizes Janie as being “the mayor’s wife,” giving Janie no opportunity to express the way she feels, in private or public.
The men in this novel talk about women as though they are objects and they can beat them when they want. Janie does fit the stereotypes of women in many instances. She is a naive young girl that has a different view of romance than a woman would. Although Janie does fit the stereotypes of women, she also breaks many as well. Through her marriages she does things that
The United States Constitution states that the country values liberty, life, and happiness for all of its citizens. These three values shape the ideal American experience. Most view it as living freely, where all men, women, and races are created equal, and where oppression of genders and races does not exist. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, however, Zora Neale Hurston challenges the traditional view of this experience by illustrating how gender roles and racism change it, manifesting that it is not close to what the average citizen goes through, especially if he or she is black.
In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the protagonist Janie, is influenced by others to change her ideals. Hurston vividly portrays Janie’s outward struggle while emphasising her inward struggle by expressing Janie’s thoughts and emotions. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening the protagonist is concisely characterized as having “that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions,” as Janie does. Janie conforms outwardly to her life but questions inwardly to her marriages with Logan Killicks, her first husband, and Joe Starks, her second husband; Janie also questions her grandmother's influence on what love and marriage is.
Being a woman of color in the 1920’s was no easy task. Gender and racial inequalities have made progress throughout history, however during the time of this novel, and even in our modern day world they are still present and causing conflict. This is an issue that should be focused on and taken more seriously. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie does a fantastic job overcoming several of these inequalities in order to pursue her own happiness, overall depicting her as an extremely powerful role model for young
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.