Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Zora Neale Hurston 's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God follows Janie, a young mulatto, through her life journey of placement in regard to the men whom she married. Toni Morrison reflects on this placement in her essay Having It All?: "She had nothing to fall back on; not maleness, not whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality she may well have invented herself." Each man whom Janie marries dictates her "place" in society, however negatively or positively, leaving her ultimately responsible for overcoming the male-domineering personality and for re-inventing herself: Janie 's first husband, Logan Killicks, identifies her as not having a place, and Janie 's second husband, Jody Starks, views her…show more content…
Tea Cake provides Janie with meaningful conversations in which creativity takes precedent, and he brings self-awareness into her perspective: "You let other folks git all de enjoyment out of 'em [her eyes] 'thout takin ' in any of it yo 'self" (144). Janie 's personal growth is showcased in her and Tea Cake 's budding relationship as well as in her self-discovery of her own voice. This newfound voice appears to Janie in the conversations she has with others. Instead of being silent and submissive to Jody Starks ' overbearing, dominant nature or Logan Killicks ' dull, unloving personality, Janie is finally able to seek true fulfillment in a new horizon. Although Tea Cake offers Janie a new sense of "place," a role of partnership and mutual connection, and a new sense of "self," a more positive image of her own nature, his choices raise questions as far as his character is concerned. These concerns include his recurring absences as well as his manipulation of Janie 's image concerning his gambling habits. This type of male-dominating character is similar to that of the men from her past marriages, and Tea Cake 's jealousy becomes apparent when he "whip[s] Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession"…show more content…
Killicks provides Janie a want and a need to seek more fulfilling life. Starks provides Janie with this fulfilling life, but disables Janie to recognize and embrace her true self. Tea Cake provides Janie with the ability to find her voice, yet he, like Killicks and Starks, subjects her to a male-domineering nature. Each man provides Janie with new horizons, and each of those horizons provide her with the opportunity to re-invent herself. Although, as Toni Morrison states, Janie "had nothing to fall back on" and found herself to be alone, she has found a new connection to life, namely, one that does not center around a
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