Their Eyes Were Watching God Road Symbolism

1220 Words5 Pages

Olivia Lea
Mr. Dart
Honors Perspectives in American Literature
25 Jan 2023
The Pursuance of Dreams in Their Eyes Were Watching God
“...For no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way behind you…” (Hurston 89). Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston follows Janie, a beautiful Black woman living in the South during the twentieth century. In a search for true love within marriage, Janie experiences life with three strikingly different husbands. In the novel, Hurston uses roads and horizons to symbolize Janie’s pursuit of possibilities, love, and independence. The horizon represents the life changing possibilities that Janie sees in her future. Hurston uses the horizon as a symbol for the captivating, but seemingly …show more content…

Janie begins the said encounter following her experience under the pear tree, realizing her desires for future relationships. “She searched as much of the world as she could from the top of the front steps and then went on down to the front gate and leaned over to gaze up and down the road” (Hurston 11). Hurston’s repeated concept of Janie gazing up the road explains Janie's willingness to search for what she yearns for. The road is Janie’s escape from unhappiness and oftentimes, reality. Following the conversation between Janie and Nanny the text states that “The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off” (Hurston 25). Janie pauses her search for love during her marriage with Logan Killicks, her first husband. She is aware that she won’t find what she is looking for anytime soon, so she begins her journey of womanhood and independence. When Janie first meets Jody, she is attracted to his imminent possibilities for the future. Willing to take a chance with him, Janie chooses to leave her marriage with Logan and travel to Eatonville with Jody. Hurston describes how Janie feels rejuvenated by her decision, “The morning road air was like a new dress” (Hurston 32). By comparing the ‘morning road air’ to a new dress, Hurston indicates Janie's excitement to begin a new phase in her life. Once …show more content…

Janie experiences a loss of independence during her first marriage, and that loss is magnified with her marriage to Jody. Jody exhibits a controlling, narcissistic, and dominating personality which leaves Janie powerless and oppressed. “She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life left beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels” (Hurston 76). Hurston illustrates how Janie is affected by Jody’s treatment during the marriage. Jody suppresses Janie’s emotions and opinions, often with a physical beating, comparable to the damage inflicted to a rut in the road. Janie is able to bring her life back to the surface after Jody’s death, no longer experiencing the domination of a powerful man in her life. Janie expresses her anger and disappointment towards Jody in the final moments of his life, “‘All dis bowin’ down, all dis obedience under yo’ voice—dat ain’t whut Ah rushed off down de road tuh find out about you’” (Hurston 87). Therefore, when he dies, Janie feels a sense of liberation and freedom. Hurston showcases Janie’s independence as she takes over management of the store. In the succeeding months, Janie meets a younger man named Tea Cake, who helps Janie discover herself. Hurston uses Tea Cake to demonstrate a healthy, balanced relationship between a married couple. Tea Cake never forces Janie to do anything against her own free will and encourages her to try

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