Zora Hrston Symbolism

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In Zora Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie Crawford was an attractive, confident, middle-aged black woman. Janie defied gender stereotypes and realized others cruelty toward her throughout the novel. Behind her defiance was curiosity and confidence that drove her to experience the world and become conscious of her relation to it. Janie’s idealized definition of love stemmed from her experience under a pear tree, an experience that was highly romanticized and glamorized in her sixteen year old eyes. Janie’s ability to free herself from the confining, understood, stereotypical roles enforced upon her allowed her to not only find true love but define true love as well.

Janie’s Nanny tried to confine Janie’s sense of value to
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She would eventually find that Joe needed to have control. The head rag was one of Joe’s ways of confining Janie, and a way he could keep her to himself and under his control. Hurston wrote, “This business of the head-rag irked [Janie] endlessly. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was not gong to show in the store… She was there in the store for him to look at, not those others” (6.31). Joe’s jealousy traps Janie, keeping her from being free to express her true self. Taking away her greatest display of beauty prevents her from having her own identity as a beautiful woman. Janie’s life became so confined, “she sat and watched the shadow of herself going about tending the store and prostrating itself before Jody, while all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair and her clothes” (7.5). Janie was so restrained by Joe’s jealousy she could only find freedom in her thoughts. She imagined a shadow of herself confined in the store while her true self was free to wonder under a tree, like she wondered under the pear tree, which defined her idea of love as teenager. After Joe died Janie “burnt up every one of her head rags and went about the house next morning with her hair in one thick braid swinging well below her waist” (9.3). This was an expression of Janie’s joyful liberation and defiance of Joe’s restrictive ways. After years of…show more content…
The Towns people and Janie’s best friend Pheoby are skeptical of Tea Cake’s intentions. They think Tea Cake is after Janie’s money and widowhood. However, Janie explains to Pheoby, “Tea Cake ain’t draggin me off nowhere Ah don’t want tuh go. Ah always did want tuh git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldn’t ‘low me tuh. When Ah wasn’t in de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hand and sit dere.” Janie admitted her desire to get up and go wherever she pleased. Joe, however, did not want his woman to be wise or conscious of the world around them so he kept her confined and immobile in the store. Janie loved Tea Cake because he was not threatened by her desire to be adventurous. Janie loved the fact that Tea Cake treated her with class as an equal and intelligent person. “He set it (the checkers) up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play.” Tea Cake proved he was not self-absorbed like Logan or Joe. He presented Janie with a chance to finally experience the love she has been pursuing her entire life. Janie had only known men who took pleasure in pleasing themselves; however, Tea Cake took pleasure in pleasing her. This endeared him to her and brought them mutual happiness. Janie loved Tea Cake because he was open with her. He was determined to do anything to please her if he saw she was unhappy. Unlike Logan and Joe,
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