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Essay on Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God


The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) is a search for self-fulfillment and true love. On a porch in a small town called Eatonville a story is told about an attractive African American women's journey. Her name is Janie Crawford. Her struggle to find companionship and herself starts as a young girl who had lost both of her parents. She lives with her grandmother who is a nanny for a wealthy white family. Janie would play with the children without realizing a difference in their race. She first realized how separate she was when she looked into the mirror for the first time. This struggle of separation stayed with her for her whole life. She was then forced by her grandma to marry an older man who would provide her with security and a nice home. Her marriage lacked love, which was replaced with the control of her husband. She was then swept away by a young black man, Joe Starks, who at first promised her a life of the love that she deserved. Joe became the beloved mayor of Eatonville and was knee deep in wealth.

For twenty-years this love was the same as the marriage before. Although Janie became familiar with the people in Eatonville and built herself a home, she did not live for wealth or security. She was beaten by her husband and told that she was nothing but a women who was good for nothing but cleaning, cooking and keeping her mouth shut. Their marriage ended when Joe died of old age. She felt no remorse. About a month after Joe's death, along came a spirited, young man named Vergible Woods but known to all as Tea Cake. Tea Cake showed Janie a way of life and love that she had never known before. He had loved her for who she was ...


... middle of paper ...


...ake, Janie finds how love should really be. One page 106, Janie is thinking that Tea Cake "could be a bee to a blossom-a pear tree blossom in the spring." She had now found her singing bee to fulfill her. Tea Cake brought everything to life and made Janie feel wanted and loved.

Throughout the novel this motif of the pear tree is used to symbolize the perfect male relationship that Janie longs to have. This may seem like a sexual fulfillment, but she wants to be fully loved by a man in both a sexually and adoring way. Hurston does an excellent job in describing how it would feel like to have such an intimate relationship by using the bee and blossoms. Janie's search is like a young tree growing and blossoming until she finds her true self.

Works Cited

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. HarperPerennial Publishing New York, New York 1998


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