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Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Love is different for each and every person. For some, it comes easy and happens early in life. For others, such as Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, it happened much later in life after two unsuccessful marriages. Janie’s grandmother, Nanny raised Janie to be attracted to financial security and physical protection instead of seeking love. Nanny continually emphasized that love was something that was bound to happen after those needs were met; even though Nanny never married. Janie formulates her ideal of love while sitting under a pear tree as a teenager; one that fulfilled her intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. She was then informed that she was to have an arranged marriage to an older man, Logan Killicks, who offered the very security and protection Nanny emphasized. After the marriage failed, looking for change, Janie ran off and married an ambitious, rich and unromantic man named Joe Sparks. Her marriage to Joe quickly became monotonous, and soon enough, Joe died of kidney failure. Later in the novel, Janie meets a poor, young and lovable man named Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods. Tea Cake surpasses her ideal of love. Janie’s view on love did not change throughout the course of the novel; instead her first two marriages engrained her wishes and desires further; all of which were fulfilled in her marriage to Tea Cake.

Janie’s relationship with Logan was exactly the opposite of her ideal type of relationship; not only did he treat her as if she was worthless because she refused to work for him, but the overall marriage was totally devoid...

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...t a bloom clearly is an underdeveloped blossom, hinting that Janie’s concept of love might have evolved. However, it is important to note that from the start, Janie knew Joe was not her ideal spouse (29), she was just looking for a change from Logan. After Tea Cake dies, Janie tells an old friend that “love is lak de sea” and that it is a moving, ever changing entity that is “different with every shore [that it meets]” (191). One can only hope that love can be as beautiful as the relationship Janie and Tea Cake shared.

Works Cited

"Feminism." Wikipedia. 24 May 2008 .

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.

"Love Train by the O'Jays Lyrics." ST Lyrics. 24 May 2008

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Stevens, George. "Review of Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

The Saturday Review of Literature (New York Post) 18 Sept. 1937.
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