Preview
Preview

Janie and Contemporary Women in Zora Neale Hurston’s "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

:: 2 Works Cited
Length: 718 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The character Janie in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is portrayed as a woman who has a modern mindset that is much too advanced for her thinking. Janie does things that raise much controversy with the community and endures situations that would be deemed inhumane in today’s society. Examining the abuse, oppression and criticism Janie undergoes in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God from both a contemporary woman's viewpoint and an early twentieth century woman's viewpoint reveals differences, as well as similarities in the way people respond to events.
The response to abuse has metamorphosed drastically from Janie’s time to present day. During the days of the early 20th century in which the novel was set, spousal abuse was accepted and even promoted in some cases. Astonishingly, when Tea talks with the men about beating Janie the men respect Tea Cake and admire the way Janie stays quiet during the ordeal saying, “wouldn’t Ah love tuh whip a tender woman lak Janie” (Hurston 148). They ignore the fact that Tea Cake beats her just to show other people that he is in charge; he beats her because of his own insecurities. In Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple it is shown that the men as well as the women encouraged spousal abuse. When Harpo seeks advice on how to deal with Sophia it is Celie, another woman, who advises him to beat her. Although spousal abuse still occurs in many households today, it occurs in secrecy because there are laws that have been erected to protect against this type of abuse, and the punishment for this crime is harsh. Today, if a man hits a woman he is less of a man and a disgrace, not praised and admired as in the past.
Although Janie endures the beatings fro...


... middle of paper ...


...men judgment of Janie still reflects the judgment of society today.
Janie is a victim of circumstance, but when given the opportunity she follows the pathways that she thinks would lead her to her self-fulfillment. She endures whatever she is put through when she sees no other option. She is strong, outspoken and independent; a woman born in a time period where all of these qualities, when present in a woman, were taboo. However, these qualities were still displayed despite the criticism of society. In this sense, Janie is stronger than many modern women because she was courageous enough to stand up for herself and her beliefs despite all obstacles and opinions.


Works Cited
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Pocket Books-Washington Square, 1982.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Janie’s Growth in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Essay - Janie’s Growth in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston   In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie has allowed us to better understand the restraints that women in society had to deal with in a male dominated society. Her marriage with Logan Killicks consisted of dull, daily routines.  Wedding herself to Joe Starks brought her closer to others, than to herself.  In her final marriage to Vergible Woods, also known as Tea Cake, she finally learned how to live her life on her own.  In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie suffered through many difficult situations that eventually enabled her to grow into an independent person....   [tags: Eyes Watching God Essays Hurston Papers]
:: 3 Works Cited
1341 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Janie and the Pear Tree in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - Janie and the Pear Tree in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston         In Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, the image of a pear tree reverberates throughout the novel. The pear tree is not only a representation of Janie's life - blossoming, death, metamorphosis, and rebirth - but also the spark of curiosity that sets Janie on her quest for self-discovery. Janie is essentially "rootless" at the beginning of her life, never having known her mother or father and having been raised by her grandmother, Nanny....   [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
906 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Janie's Three Marriages in Hurston's There Eyes Were Watching God Essays - The book, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is about Janie Crawford and her quest for self-independence and real love. She finds herself in three marriages, one she escapes from, and the other two end tragically. And throughout her journey, she learns a lot about love, and herself. Janie’s three marriages were all different, each one brought her in for a different reason, and each one had something different to teach her, she was forced into marrying Logan Killicks and hated it....   [tags: literary analysis, english literature essys] 1071 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Janie's Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Essay - ... Tea Cake loves Janie and the way he expresses this is when he says, “Put dat two hundred back wid de rest, Janie. Mah dice. Ah no need no assistance tuh help me feed mah woman. From now on, you goin tuh eat whutever man money can buy you and wear de same” (100). He does not expect much from Janie just for her to be his wife and nothing more. All these reasons explain why these three men expect things from Janie even though their motivations for doing so is completely different. Another way all three husbands are similar is when they abuse her....   [tags: expectations, marry, motives, wife] 959 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Impact of Hurston's Life Experiences on the Character Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God - The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston explores the life of an African American woman from the south who is trying to find herself. The protagonist of this novel is Janie Crawford. She is trying to defy what people expect of her, and she lives her life searching to have a better life. Zora Neale Hurston’s life experiences influence the book in many ways, including language, personality, and life experiences. Through her use of southern black language in the book Zora Neale Hurston illustrates the vernacular she grew up speaking....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Critical Analysis] 779 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - Thus, their inability to relate to her does not come from hatred but form their upbringing or skepticism. Janie’s story (profoundly economic in emphasis, as Houston Baker has argued) focuses on three representative husbands (Newman, Oct., 2003). Although the focal point of Their Eyes Were Watching God correlates with Janie’s relationship with her three husbands and other people. It is the main and primary idea of Janie’s search for divine clarification and a strong sense of her own identity. Janie is alone as seen in the beginning and the ending of the story....   [tags: Husbands, Novel, Quest]
:: 2 Works Cited
1052 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Janie's Quest for Self Identity in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston - In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston the author gives several examples of one’s quest for self identity.  Throughout the story Janie's quest for self identity can be clearly seen as she keeps moving from one marriage to another. As time passes her search takes several bad turns, In the end she ends up finding her true identity.  Through her marriages with Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake she figures out she should do for herself and how she should live. In the end of the story she is where she finally wants to be and where she really belongs....   [tags: marriage, belong, identity] 742 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Essay example - The relationship between Janie and her grandmother is full of love and compassion. Nanny was born directly into slavery, and lived a very depressing life. The daughter of nanny, Leafy, also lived a gruesome life, at the age of seventeen she was raped by her schoolteacher, then after giving birth to Janie, she became an alcoholic and quickly abandoned her family. Janie and Nanny then proceed to live with the Washburn family, along with four other white kids, and did not realize she was black until she sports a photograph of herself, and out of shock she says " Aw,aw....   [tags: Submission, Gender, Slavery] 568 words
(1.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Characterization of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston which is set in the 1930’s explores the life of an African American women from the south, that trying to find herself. The protagonist of this novel is Janie Crawford. In the novel, Janie is going on a journey to find who she really is and to find spiritual enlightenment. To help shape Janie character in this novel Hurston is influence by the philosophical view from the Romanticism, and Realism movement in addition she is influence by the social events that were happing in the Modernism period....   [tags: essays research papers] 780 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Janie’s Learning Experiences in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston - Janie’s Learning Experiences in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston "Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches" (8). When Janie was a teenager, she used to sit under the pear tree and dream about being a tree in bloom. She longs for something more. When she is 16, she kisses Johnny Taylor to see if this is what she looks for. Nanny sees her kiss him, and says that Janie is now a woman....   [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Hurston] 1426 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]