Facing Inner Conflict in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Facing Inner Conflict in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford, the protagonist, constantly faces the inner conflicts she has against herself. Throughout a lot of her life, Janie is controlled, whether it be by her Nanny or by her husbands, Logan Killicks and Joe Starks. Her outspoken attitude is quickly silenced and soon she becomes nothing more than a trophy, only meant to help her second husband, Joe Starks, achieve power. With time, she no longer attempts to stand up to Joe and make her own decisions. Janie changes a lot from the young girl laying underneath a cotton tree at the beginning of her story. Not only is she not herself, she finds herself aging and unhappy with her life. Joe’s death become the turning point it takes to lead to the resolution of her story which illustrates that others cannot determine who you are, it takes finding your own voice and gaining independence to become yourself and find those who accept you.
The beginning of Janie’s marriage to Joe shows promise and adventure, something that young Janie is quickly attracted to. She longs to get out of her loveless marriage to Logan Killicks and Joe’s big dreams captivate Janie. Once again she hopes to find the true love she’s always dreamed of. Joe and Janie’s life is first blissful. He gives her whatever she wants and after he becomes the mayor of a small African American town called Eatonville, they are the most respected couple in town. Joe uses his newfound power to control Janie. When she is asked to make a speech at a town event, she can’t even get out a word before Joe denies her the privilege. He starts making her work in the store he opens and punishes her for any mistakes she makes. He enjoys the power and respect her gets when o...


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...ver have been condoned had Joe still been around. Janie can say what she wants and doesn’t have to hide her true feelings. Finally, she can be herself around someone who accepts and encourages who she is. Tea Cake adds excitement and passion to Janie’s life, something that hadn’t ever existed in her previous relationships. Despite how the town feels about the new romance, Janie and Tea Cake leave the town and are bonded by the true love Janie had yearned for since she was a child. Janie finds the future she had always wanted. All because of Joe’s death, Janie became free to live out her own dreams instead of his. She was finally accepted by someone she truly loves and the conflict she faced for so long is over. She has the independence to be who she wants, love who she wants and live how she wants. Joe’s death led her to Tea Cake where she finally found who she was.

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