Janie's Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Finding one’s soul mate is a difficult and lengthy process for most, as it is for Janie in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. She marries Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake Woods who seem to be alike; however, the motives for the actions they each take are completely different.
All three husbands are similar in the way that they all have expectations of Janie as a wife. Logan Killicks, Janies first husband, has expectations of Janie. His motives for his expectations though, are because he wants her to help out on the farm. Logan shows this expectation by saying, “ Naw Ah needs two mules dis yeah. Taters is goin’ tuh be taters in de fall. Bringin’ big prices. Ah aims tuh run two plows, and dis man Ah’m talkin’ ‘bout is got uh mule all gentled up so even uh woman kin handle ‘im” (21). He has the idea that Janie can work with him, Logan makes her carry wood to the house, cut seeds from potatoes, and even move piles of manure. In the same way, Joe Starks expects much from Janie as well. He is motivated by improving his image however, by making Janie Mrs. Mayor Starks she is now Joe’s eye candy. His vision for being a big voice is mainly in Janie’s perfect looks, like in this quote that states, “ Everybody was coming sort of fixed up, and he didn’t mean for nobody else’s wife to rank with her” (34). He expected Janie to be his trophy wife and just look better than everyone else. Tea Cake Woods’ expectations of Janie as a wife is the same as well. He had a different approach on it though, all Tea Cake wanted is for Janie to be his equal and nothing more. His motivation, is love. 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...

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...important experience is when they travel and live out on the muck. She learns from Tea Cake true love and how it feels to be that way. Upon his death Janie realizes and says this, “Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore” (152). Janie knows that she won’t ever find a love like her’s and Tea Cakes, so she feels alive and now she has all these lessons about life in her lap from her three husbands.
Janie Crawford marries three men that seem to be very much alike; however, their motivations for their actions are different. After all she has been through will she keep herself from finding someone else? Maybe all the expectations of being a wife, abuse and lessons about life are all she can handle. So many thoughts, so many questions, so many possibilities, so little time.
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