Journey To The Horizon in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

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“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board,” (Page 1) starts Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, a story about a young girl’s experiences as she tries to find love. The novel begins by distinguishing the dreams of men and women. The dreams of men either come along naturally, or “sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.” (Page 1) Women, on the other hand, remember only what they want to remember. For them, “The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” (Page 1)

Janie is a young girl raised by her “old-fashioned” grandmother who has a fixed outlook on marriage. Her grandmother believes marriage is not for love but it is simply for protection. She accepts her limitations as a woman, having gone through slavery and having lived a difficult life. But Janie has the dreaming qualities of both men and women. She has a different vision of love, seeing it as an eternal and passionate sensation of mutual respect between the husband and the wife. Her image is like the horizon, an eternal line where the earth’s surface and the sky meet. Janie is forced into a marriage with Logan Killicks that does not display mutual respect. She is determined to leave him and continue her journey. Her first marriage leads her into her second marriage with Jody Starks; a man who seems to respect Janie at first but in reality does not. Her relationship with Jody is “mocked to death by time,” and leads her to her last relationship with Tea Cake Woods. By the end of the novel Janie has reached the line of equality with Tea Cake. Her relationships represent her journey to the horizon with the idea of love never...

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... relationships, although different from each other, were based on status and protection. Janie chose Jody to fill in the feelings that were unsatisfied by Logan. She felt the need for change, but she did not live freely and peacefully with Jody. Her previous marriages had killed the life inside of her, and Tea Cake revived her. The last experience on her journey taught her everything there was to know about love. She learns that love acts differently than a grindstone and does not have the same effect on everything. (Page 191) Tea Cake is now a part of Janie and her feelings for him are limitless. “She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net,” (Page 193) letting out all the things she wanted to forget. Janie finally fulfills her journey to the eternal line of love, and recalls her story remembering all the important things that led her to the peaceful horizon.
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