Unlike The Odyssey or any other epic tales, Their Eyes Were Watching God has a different perspective of what a hero is. In this novel, Hurston writes a story about an African-American woman named Janie Crawford whose quest is to find her identity and desire as a human being to be loved and appreciated for who she is. Her quest to fulfill those desires is not easy since she has to overcome so many obstacles and challenges in her life. A superiority that her Nanny posses over her to determine Janie's own life when she was a teenager and being a beautiful accessory to the glory of Joe Starks' are some of the experience that she encounters. She also has to make some sacrifices. And yet, just like any other heroes, at the end, she returns to her home with a victory on her hands.
Janie who continually finds her being defined by other people rather than by herself never feels loved, either by her parents or by anybody else. Her mother abandoned her shortly after giving birth to her. All she had was her grandmother, Nanny, who protected and looked after her when she was a child. But that was it. She was even unaware that she is black until, at age six, she saw a photograph of herself. Her Nanny who was enslaved most of her lifetime only told her that a woman can only be happy when she marries someone who can provide wealth, property, and security to his wife. Nanny knew nothing about love since she never experienced it. She regarded that matter as unnecessary for her as well as for Janie. And for that reason, when Janie was about to enter her womanhood in searching for that love, Nanny forced her to marry Mr. Logan Killicks, a much older man that can offer Janie the protection and security, plus a sixty-acre potato farm. Although Janie in her heart never approves what her Nanny forced her to do, she did it anyway. She convinced herself that by the time she became Mrs. Killick, she would get that love, which turned out to be wrong.
Nanny's biggest mistake is that she never consults with Janie about what she wants in life. Janie's second husband, Joe Starks, is a repeat of Janie's unhappiness in marriage. At first, Janie looked at Joe as a man who would offer her an escape from her loveless marriage with Mr.