Their Eyes Were Watching God Silence Essay

903 Words4 Pages

In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie struggles to create a voice for herself and learns when her silence is more powerful than her words. Janie uses her voice at times when she feels powerless or when someone is silencing her. When Janie is in situations where she is being silenced or confronted, she chooses to be either speak out or stay silenced. When Janie is silent, she is able to set herself up in a position of taking her power back from those who try to make her feel powerless. As the novel goes on Janie learns how to be silent at times when her words aren’t as powerful as her silence.
In the novel, Hurston explains how much Janie is silenced when by showing us all of her internal dialogue, which is …show more content…

Janie usually felt that arguing with Joe would be standing up for herself, but she chose at times to be silence; “He wanted her submission...until he felt he had it. So gradually, she pressed her teeth together and learned to hush”(71). Joe wanted Janie to feel powerless, “he wanted her submission”, in full control. Janie wasn’t afraid to speak up for herself, “she pressed her teeth together and learned to hush”, but learns that her silence could be as powerful as the words she spoke. Janie wanted to say something back, “she pressed her teeth together”, it was not easy for Janie to be silent but she knew her silence would allow her to avoid more conflict. Janie knows that fighting back with her words would only open the door for more silencing. Hurston shows Joe’s persistence to maintain his authority over Janie, “until, he felt he had it”. Once, Joe feels he has Janie in full control, he leaves her alone. So, when Janie is silent and not resisting Joe’s commands, he would leave her alone. Later on in the novel, when Janie is in the Everglades with Tea Cake, Janie would allow things she did not like happening to continue to happen. When Mrs.Turner insults Tea Cake, Janie does not say anything. Janie thought not saying anything would take away the power that Mrs.Turner thought she had over Janie; “He wuz uh white folks’ nigger. According to all Janie had been taught this was sacrilege so she sat without speaking at

Open Document