Theme Of Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Several characters in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God exhibit three major themes: power, jealousy, and judgment. Each of these themes shapes the life of the main character, Janie. Power controls her until she is strong enough to stand up for herself, jealousy shapes her interaction with other people, and judgement influences her behavior until she decides she does not care what other people think of her. In the beginning of Janie’s narrative, the reader learns that Nanny, Janie’s grandmother, arranges Janie’s marriage to Logan Killicks (Hurston). While Nanny’s decision to push Janie into what Janie viewed as a loveless marriage is not malicious in intent, it demonstrates Nanny’s influence and power over Janie’s life. Nanny is trying to give Janie a secure…show more content…
Maybe he skeered some de rest of us mens might touch it round dat store.” (Hurston) As Joe Starks becomes insecure with his image fading and his age showing, he begins to insult Janie’s looks, jealously attempting to keep her from pursuing other lovers (Ben Florman). Later, when Janie is married to Tea Cake, her own jealousy flares when she thinks Tea Cake is cheating on her. She verbally and physically attacks Tea Cake until she is convinced he is not having an affair. The third main theme is judgement. When Janie and Tea Cake are in the Everglades planting and picking beans, people who work with Tea Cake judge Janie. They claim that she must think she is better than they are, because she is not out in the field as well. “It was generally assumed that she though herself too good to work like the rest of the women (…)” (Hurston). Later, when Janie returns to Eatonsville, the same townspeople who used to envy her now judge her: “What she doin coming back here in dem overhalls? (…) What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? Where she left dat young lad of a boy she went off here wid? (…) What he done wid all her money?”
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