The “Rock Pile” by James Baldwin and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston are two stories that examined black male resistance to emasculation. The men in these stories lived in patriarchal societies, and they reaped the benefits of a structure that favored men. In both of these stories, the male characters are dominant figures in their households, and when they felt like their manhood was being attacked, they retaliate viciously. In “Their eyes were watching god”
African Americans thrived in American culture during the 1920’s, as the Harlem Renaissance invigorated and empowered people of color to create artistic and literary works. The expressive movement allowed Africans to gain a new identify in America and prove their worth in a predominantly white society. The African American literary prolificacy soon ended as the Great Depression caused colored people to return back to their pre-established assumptions of artistic inadequacy and incompetence. The decline in the American economy increased political and social tensions, resulting in the return of African American discrimination. Zora Neale Hurston addresses the recurrent African oppression in the 1930’s with her publication, Their Eyes Were Watching
The pursuit of dreams has played a big role in self-fulfillment and internal development and in many ways, an individual 's reactions to the perceived and real obstacles blocking the path to a dream define the very character of that person. This theme is evident in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is about the search for identity. A woman of a mixed ethnicity resides in several communities, each playing an important role and serve as crucial influences on her life. During the story, she endures two failed relationships and one good relationship, dealing with disappointment, death, the wrath of nature and life’s unpredictability.
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, home to Janie is a place that has both positive and negative associations- the pear tree. Janie constantly goes to the pear tree for comfort; it is her place of happiness, peace and her love life. At the same time, Janie has the pear tree embedded in her mind. She constantly compares her partners to the pear tree and what their love should be like; so when the thought of an unwelcoming incident pops up in her head, he is tarnishing her pear tree. At sixteen, Janie’s grandmother caught her kissing Johnny Taylor; Janie spends most of her day under the pear tree in her backyard with her mind-boggling questions on virginity, love and marriage.
Zora Neale Hurston sets her novel in Florida during the early 1900s. The novel begins in West Florida where Janie lives with her grandmother and a white family. As the novel progresses, Janie makes her way to other parts of Florida. She moves to the all-black town of Eatonville with Jody Starks and becomes a part of his sophisticated life. After Jody's death, Janie then joins a simpler community in the Everglades with Tea Cake.
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, we follow our protagonist, Janie, through a journey of self-discovery. We watch Janie from when she was a child to her adulthood, slowly watching her ideals change while other dreams of hers unfortunately die. This is shown when Jane first formulates her idea of love, marriage, and intimacy by comparing it to a pear tree; erotic, beautiful, and full of life. After Janie gets married to her first spouse, Logan Killicks, she doesn’t see her love fantasy happening, but she waits because her Nanny tells her that love comes after marriage. Janie, thinking that Nanny is wise beyond her years, decides to wait.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Janie is held back from growing to her full potential. Janie is married three times and in each marriage there is one item that restrains her. In her marriage with Joe she was forced to wear a head rag to cover her hair because it is so long and beautiful. The red rag resembled the restraint Joe put on Janie.
Janie Takes a Stand At the end of chapter 6, Janie rebukes the men and her response not only highlights the gender inequality problem in the novel, but it also shows a major character development in Janie. Not only of what Janie says is startling, but the fact that she said something made me see Janie in a different perspective. Janie?s opening line, ? Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business?, caught my attention because her response is against societal norms.
During the post-civil war era, most “colored people did not know how to be free” (Houston Hartsfield Holloway). The abolishment of slavery was a major event that led blacks to desire fulfillment in life. Zora Neale Hurston demonstrates this through Janie’s life and the people she encounters. Each character provides a different outlook on life and their values are distinct from Janie’s. The novel questions what true happiness is via Janie’s quest to find love and her influences.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford-KIllicks-Starks-Woods experiences three very different marriages. First, she is forced to marry Logan Killicks, a man she does not have any feelings for. After a little more than a year, she leaves Logan and marries Jody Starks. The marriage with Jody starts out well, but it ends up bad. After Jody dies, Janie spends nine months basking in her newfound freedom.
Oprah Winfrey made “Their Eyes Were Watching God” new by changing Zora Neale Hurston’s masterpiece. She altered the relationships and gave characters new strengths. Oprah distorted the moral fiber that Zora Neale Hurston gave the audience. She deceived readers with false purity. Oprah Winfrey misrepresented what made the book motivating.