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Zola Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Opening the Heart

“We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment,” is a great description for what Janie Crawford is looking for on her journey in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (10). It is very clear from the text that Janie is searching for something to fill an empty gap she has due to her past experiences. Her problems could have rooted from her early childhood when she was abandoned by both parents. Her identity struggle can be traced from her bad luck with men. No matter what the cause for her inner conflict, Janie struggles to find fulfilment and has many identity issues. However through her journey, she finds clarity about who she is as a woman, person, and what she wants in life.

Growing up, young Janie struggled with her own identity and a clear understanding of what love was. There is no way Janie could know who she was if she did not know where she came from. At the beginning of the second chapter Janie said “Ah ain’t never seen mah papa…mah mama neither,” (21) as we find out later on in the book, Janie’s father is a white man who raped her poor mother leaving her to live with her grandmother, Nanny. This only added to Janie’s confusion about who she was in the long run. In fact, she had spent so much time around the white children that she did not know she was black. Also during Janie’s early years, she became curious about what love was. Nanny provided her with love and protection, but that is not the love she wanted. One day in her early teen years Janie thought she finally had found out what love was with Johnny Taylor, a young boy, but her grandmother told her love was about “stability and money, “and had nothing to do with caring about the other person.

On Janie’s journey, she...

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...at she had to be strong and much more than a house-wife. Moving on with her life, in the next marriage with Joe she was constantly belittled, but she stayed by his side even after the abuse. Janie had develop faithfulness in this relationship, but still she had not found true love. In addition, Joe had left her with a huge sum of money and the store leaving her more stable and independent. From Janie last relationship with Tea Cake she had developed her own identity. Leading Janie to true happiness and love. Through Janie’s long journey she was able to find out who she was and she finally found her true love.

Works Cited

Hurston, Zora Neale. "Their Eyes were Watching God." New York: Perennial, 1990. 10. Book.

Piper, Noel. Faithful Women and Thier Extraordinary God. Crossway, 2005. Book.

Williams, Heather Andrea. Freedom's Story. n.d. Document. 11 April 2014.
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