Perceptions of Marriage in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Perceptions of Marriage in Their Eyes Were Watching God

For generations marriage has been accepted as a bond between two

people. However, the ideals involved in marriage differ by the individuals

involved. The book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

clearly demonstrates these differences. In the book a girl by the name

Janie is raised by her grandmother and then married off by her grandmother.

Originally all Janie knows of marriage and love is what her grandmother

tells her. As Janie moves on in her life and re-marries, she finds that

everybody has their own idea towards the role of their spouses in marriage.

Over time Janie begins to develop her own ideas and ideals. In Their Eyes

Were Watching God each principle character has their own perceptions

towards marriage.

The first ideas that Janie was exposed to was those of her

grandmother, Nanny. Nanny saw that Janie was entering womanhood and she

didn't want Janie to experience what her mother went through. So Nanny set

out to marry her as soon as possible. When Janie asked about love, she was

told that marriage makes love and she will find love after she marries

Logan. Nanny believed that love was second to stability and security.

Only after those first two criteria were satisfied then and only then could

one experience love. Nanny felt that a young girl like Janie was too young

to make decisions for herself, so when she caught Janie exploring her

womanhood Nanny felt that she needed to marry Janie as quickly as possible

so that she could find love in a safe a secure environment. Nanny has her

own ideals when it comes to marriage and Janie will soon learn that

everyone's are different.

Second, Janie sees Logan Killicks' perception of marriage. In the

beginning it appears to Janie that Logan is a very nice gentleman, who is

constantly treating her well. However as time goes on, Janie see Logan's

"true colors." Logan feels that if they are both going to live together

and share their lives then they should do an equal amount of work. Logan

soon puts Janie to work and treats her more like a mule than a wife. Logan

didn't want a wife out of marriage; he wanted a pack animal. Also, love

doesn't seem to be incorporated in Logan's definition of marriage. As

Janie said "Ah know ‘tain't nothin' dere." Logan didn't see marriage in

terms of love, he only saw it in terms of free labor.

After leaving Logan in search of love Janie finds Jody Starks.
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