Unhealthy Identity

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Both self-perception and the perception of self by others are critical in the forming of identity. Consequently, relations with people are vital in the cultivation and expression of one’s identity. Whereas healthy relationships allow for the expression of oneself without fear of consequences, unhealthy relationships put pressure on one to change for one’s partner. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God explores the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, focusing on how each affects the establishment of one’s individuality. Her novel’s exploration of how people’s connections relate to individuality reveals that oneself can only emerge from positive relationships. Hurston portrays this exploration through the…show more content…
As a matter of fact, Tea Cake treats Janie with respect and as an equal. In this quote, Tea Cake plays a game of checkers with Janie. Notably, he participates in the same activity as her, implying that she is just as capable and deserving of engaging in these activities as he is. In addition, he continues to demonstrate this belief by participating in other activities with her, such as fishing. Whereas others disregard and put down her feelings, Tea Cake is receptive to them and accepts them unconditionally, further showing how Janie can express herself to Tea Cake without fear. Similarly, Tea Cake empowers Janie and allows her to make her own decisions. This quote takes place after Tea Cake has saved Janie from a rabid dog and Janie reveals how glad she is to have met Tea Cake. With this in mind, it is significant because it demonstrates how Janie realizes how much she's gained from her marriage to Tea Cake and how he’s helped her find her identity. Prior to Janie’s marriage to Tea Cake, she never expected anything to come about for her in any relationships she might have. She only expected to keep having to deal with being stifled by her relationships and trying to hide her pain from others. That is to say, she only expected to keep having her identity suppressed and hidden. However, Tea Cake has helped Janie become something, to find her own distinct identity. Because of this, Janie is glad for anything they go through together. This serves as further evidence of how Tea Cake has helped Janie find her

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