Their Eyes Are Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

1082 Words5 Pages
People are constantly searching for their voices. A voice gives someone independence and the ability to make her own decision. The First Amendment ensures that all United States citizens possess the freedom of speech; however, not all people are given the ability or opportunity to exercise that right. When a person has no voice they rely on others to make their decisions. Throughout Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Are Watching God, Janie constantly struggles to find her voice. Her marriage to Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake help her discover and utilize her voice in different ways. During Janie’s first marriage to Logan she has no voice, Joe silences Janie’s tiniest whisper and controls her similar to a slave; in contrast to Logan and Joe, Tea Cake encourages Janie to use her voice and make her own decisions. Janie cannot express her voice until she discovers happiness and independence through her final marriage.

While Janie’s Nanny forces her into marrying Logan Killicks for security; Logan also lacks love and compassion for Janie and silences her. Janie cannot use her voice when she marries Logan Killicks because of her Nanny. Although Janie knows “exactly whut” she wants to say; expressing her voice is “hard to do” (Hurston 8). From the beginning, Logan does not resemble her perfect pear tree love, which to Janie means a man who instills confidence into his wife and listens to her voice. Logan falls short of fulfilling that dream as he isolates her from the community, leaving her with no voice whatsoever. Realizing her marriage lacks love and compassion which she longs for, Janie comes to understand that her relationship with Logan will not last long .Not only does Janie’s marriage to Logan stifle any hopes of exp...

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...disrespect from Tea Cake. She threatens him, saying if he leaves her again without her permission she will “kill yuh” (124). Within Janie’s past marriages her husbands treat her comparable to a slave and isolate her from the community. Even though her voice is still developing, she will not allow her husband to show her contempt. During the trial, Janie both matures and shows control over her voice, as she faces the horror of retelling the story of Tea Cake’s death to the court room. While giving her testimony, Janie knows when to talk; however, when she is through “she hushed” (187). By expressing and controlling her voice in court, Janie ultimately reveals her new found vocal maturity, but it is only because of her final marriage to Tea Cake that Janie finally develops an understanding of when and how to use her voice.

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Their Eyes Are Watching God
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