Their Eyes Were Watching God

6207 Words25 Pages
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Theme

Many times the love that a person is looking for is the one that a person doesn't realize.

Setting

The author begins and ends the book on a porch where Janie is telling her story to her friend Pheobe Watson. The book begins in the morning on the porch and then ends at night, symbolic of beginning and end. In between these two times Janie is telling her story which travels through the state of Florida.

Style

In this book, Hurston writes in the dielect of the black community of the time. Many of the words are slang. Hurston begins the story with Janie telling it, but then it becomes a third person narrative throughout most of the story.

Theme

Many times the love that a person is looking for is the one that a person doesn't realize.

Characters

Lee Coker - Lee Coker lives in Eatonville. He was one of the first people to meet Jody and Janie.

Coodemay and Dick Sterrett - Coodemay and Sterrett were friends of Tea Cake and Janie in the Everglades. One night they went to Mrs. Turner's restaurant while they were drunk. When they started causing trouble, Tea Cake made a big show of throwing them out. The crowd began to take sides, so a great deal of property damage took place in the process. Coodemay survives the hurricane; Sterett does not.

Janie Crawford - Janie Crawford is the protagonist of the novel. She was raised by her grandmother, Nanny. She wanted to define her identity on her own terms, but Nanny coerced her into marrying Logan Killicks. She valued financial security over love. However, Janie was miserable in her first marriage. She left Logan to marry Jody Starks. Jody refused to allow Janie to make her own decisions, so their marriage turns out unhappily as well. After Jody's death, Janie married Tea Cake. Through Tea Cake, Janie enjoyed her first real love. She grew beyond what other people wanted her to be and experienced her first taste of real freedom.

Leafy Crawford - Leafy Crawford was Janie's mother. She was born shortly before the end of the Civil War. Master Roberts, the white slave owner who owned Nanny, was her father. When Master Roberts' wife threatened to sell Leafy and punish Nanny for her relationship with Master Roberts, Nanny fled to the swamps. She hid there with her child until the slaves were declared free. Nanny dreamed that her child would have respectability and ...

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...gh he gave her wealth and respectibility. So it seems that Nanny's worst fears and her highest hopes were realized in Janie's second marriage.

Tea Cake's courtship was different from that of Logan and Jody. Janie's first marriage was more of a contract of sale between Nanny and Logan than anything else. Janie's second marriage was an escape from the first one. Moreover, it was based on disappointed dreams. Jody courted her by talking about himself and his dreams. Tea Cake, on the other hand, pursued Janie with a more romantic flair. Also, he allowed her equal footing in negotiating the terms of their relationship.

Her attendance at the picnic with Tea Cake was an act of faith, taking the relationship into the public arena. Social condemnation was fast in coming, especially because she discarded her mourning colors. She was free of Jody, so she also took steps to defy the restrictions that social convention placed on her behavior. Gaining personal freedom was a two-fold process. First, she had to be free in her private life, but she also had to free herself from restricting social attitudes. Only then could she begin to heal the rift between her outside self and her inside self.
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