Women have been disregarded in Western Civilization for decades. Despite having been a major part in the formation of society, women often have had choices made for them by their male counterparts. Choices are made in favor of males' best interest as opposed to that of the women they leave out of the conversation. Women have a right and a need to be able to define their own destiny and not be forced to submit to the canon that has been constructed by the society around them. The protagonist of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie Crawford refuses to give in to the fate that those around her expect her to accept. Janie chooses to (like many women today) stand up for herself and makes decisions that benefit her as opposed to those who attempt to control her. It is arguable that the way society functions is all a …show more content…
White men have historically been the group with the most power. This power has allowed (and still allows them) to make "standards" that others in society are expected to conform to. From the capture of African men and women that led to slavery, to the plans to defund Planned Parenthood in the modern day, decisions that negatively affect other groups are often made by white men. Men in general, have been able to create a canon for society that causes women to have to fall in line or be subjected to ridicule. Janie's journey embodies how men attempt to control women, however, Janie showcases that women do have a responsibility to resist such imposition and rise against it.The era in which the novel takes place is fraught with old-fashioned ideals. The ideology that women are meant to be subservient to their husbands was prevalent during this time and caused many women to live out their married lives miserably, often being abused both emotionally and physically. Janie is forced to marry at a
This essay investigates how feminism ideas are embedded in the book, Their Eyes Were Watching God written by the author Zora Hurston. As the background of the book is in the setting of the African Americans community, this investigation is focused on African American Feminism. Therefore, it brings up the question “How does ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ depict African American Feminism?”. With the aim to answer the research question, this essay looks into the aspect from the way Hurston portrayed and developed the heroine Janie Woods. The text is analyze through looking closely into how Hurston portrayed Janie Woods ideal marriages, actions and self development.
The novel 's plot is driven by Janie 's series of relationships with different men: a kiss with Johnny Taylor, followed by marriages with Logan Killicks, Jody Starks and finally, Tea Cake. Logan Killicks and Jody Starks see Janie as defined by her relationship with them, and expect her to be obedient, silent and proper. Jody sees her as a kind of ornament that bolsters his social standing and that helps to justify his efforts to assert control over everyone, men and women alike. Tea Cake, in contrast, defines himself not by political power but rather by his physical strength and ability to have fun. Even while Tea Cake treats Janie as an equal, there still exists a certain power struggle in Janie 's relationship with him, as her increasing ability to recognize her needs as an individual throughout the novel emerges in response to Tea Cake 's treatment of her.
but it didn’t do her any good” as Jody kept on fighting for her “submission” (71). As Jody continues to make Janie submit, less of her individuality is present as she is reduced to the ideal wife in Jody’s eyes. He does this by covering her hair, confining her to the store, and insults her. Again, In one scene,
In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is a main character whose outward existence conforms, and her inward life questions. This tension helps to evolve the author’s theme of the importance of individuality and how individuality creates happiness. Janie experiences most of her life in trying to conform, and grows to despise it. Once free, she becomes herself and becomes happy. Early in the novel, Janie marries Logan Killicks.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston acknowledges the idea of sexism when she addresses that Janie Starks, the protagonist, never got to fulfill her dreams. Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, wanted the best for her granddaughter so she married her off to a man named Logan Killicks, a man who had a small farm and good wealth “Janie and Logan got married in Nanny’s parlor of a Saturday evening with three cakes and big platters of fried rabbit and chicken,” (Hurston 3). Years has passed within the marriage and Janie never found love for Logan. Logan comparing her to his ex-wife, discriminated Janie’s place of position, “Mah fust wife never bothered me ‘bout choppin’ no wood nohow. She’d grab dat ax and sling chips lak
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie suffers from hardship in two relationships before she can find her true love. Janie explains to her best friend, Pheoby, how she searches for love. Therefore Pheoby wants to hear the true story, rather than listening to the porch sitters. Throughout the book Janie experiences different types of love with three different men; Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Vergible "Tea Cake" Woods. At 16 Janie marries Logan Killicks.
Gender Inequality in Their Eyes Were Watching God In the novel, Their Eyes were watching God, by Zora Neal Hurston it is evident that her anthropological background influenced the way she chose to tell the story of Janie’s life. Having this knowledge really helped her gain a perspective on the issue of feminism and the way that women were treated. It also helped her case that Zora herself was an African American woman growing up around the same time period.
She expected to obey for her husband like others. “He ordered Janie to tie up her hair around the store” reveals that she did everything to his happiness not for her. Even though she is a wife of a mayor, she didn’t get any privilege rather she lost her social relationship with other people. She lived under the dominance of her husband
Over time, women have slowly gained more and more rights. They have become more prominent in society, making more decisions that influence their lives, as well as the lives of other people. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston highlights how the gender roles of men and women differ including women being less powerful than men, how Janie had the strength and determination to gain her own happiness, and how stereotypical roles should not play a part in society. Some people view Janie as a woman who should be dependent on her husband, following the traditional roles of women, being satisfied with her life as the less powerful sex.
Throughout the course of the book, Janie experiences oppression as a woman, revealing the hidden gender roles in American society that help form the American
During Janie's first marriage, she outwardly conforms to the societal view of marriage, and the domestic wife, while inwardly questioning if she can learn to disregard her true
Is it worth risking everything in order to be happy? In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, an African American woman named Janie makes many challenging decisions in order to be happy. This novel takes place in the 1920’s which creates many obstacles that Janie must overcome in order to achieve happiness. There are many stereotypes and inequalities during this time that make life extremely difficult for Janie. Although Janie allows others to mistreat her at points throughout the novel, she is overall an excellent role model for young readers because she overcomes several stereotypes of African American females during this time period, and she makes many difficult decisions based solely on her own happiness.
Additionally, these stories reveal the great diversity among women. Generally, women are grouped together, as stated by Lorde: “As women we have either been taught to ignore our differences or view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than forces of change (Lorde, 1979).” Despite the efforts to categorize women’s issues into one mass of problems, White women perceive the world differently than African American women, Hispanic women, Native American women, etc., and vice versa. This conglomeration of “women’s issues” does not address every aspect of being a woman in patriarchal and unjust societies throughout the world.
Women are confined to single roles and are expected to be submissive and respectful. When Joe married Janie, he forced her into a role of subservience. Hurston indicates that Joe attempted to mold Janie into what white women do on a daily basis which is to “sit on their high stools on the porches of their house and relax.” Doing this, Joe believes he is granting his wife all the wishes she ever wanted while neglecting the fact that Janie takes pleasure in the simple things in life like chatting, laughing, fishing and dancing. “Janie [especially] loved the conversation[s]” that took place on the porch and sometimes “she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge” because he didn’t want her to talk after those “trashy people” (Page 104).
“Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression” (Nelson Mandela). Women throughout history has been shown to be treated unequally compared to men, they are heavily repressed by stereotypes of society and by men who believe they are superior compared to women. Zora Neale Hurston explores the roles of women in the novel, Their Eyes were Watching God, through the characters of Janie and her second husband, Joe Starks. Even with two different marriages, Janie never got the chance to be who she really is. The men in her life had held Janie back from what she wanted.