Essay PreviewMore ↓
The first time Janie had noticed this was when he was appointed mayor by the town’s people and she was asked to give a few words on his behalf, but she did not answer, because before she could even accept or decline he had promptly cut her off, “ ‘Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ’bout no speech-makin’/Janie made her face laugh after a short pause, but it wasn’t too easy/…the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything on way or another that took the bloom off things” (43). This would happen many times during the course of their marriage. He told her that a woman of her class and caliber was not to hang around the low class citizens of Eatonville. In such cases when he would usher her off the front porch of the store when the men sat around talking and laughing, or when Matt Boner’s mule had died and he told her she could not attend its dragging-out, and when he demanded that she tie up her hair in head rags while working in the store, “This business of the head-rag irked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was NOT to show in the store” (55). He had cast Janie off from the rest of the community and put her on a pedestal, which made Janie feel as though she was trapped in an emotional prison. Over course of their marriage, he had silenced her so much that she found it better to not talk back when got this way. His voice continuously oppresses Janie and her voice. She retreats within herself, where still dreams of her bloom time, which had ended with Joe, “This moment lead Janie to ‘grows out of her identity, but out of her division into inside and outside. Knowing not mix them is knowing that articulate language requires the co-presence of two distinct poles, not their collapse into oneness’ ” (Clarke 608). The marriage carries on like this until; Joe lies sick and dying in his death bed.
How to Cite this Page
"Finding Her Voice in Their Eyes Were Watching God." 123HelpMe.com. 09 Dec 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Men in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of how a young woman, Janie, finds her place and identity in life. Deborah Clarke argues that slavery in this novel forces women to fade into the background, losing their identity and definition of self. Many critics, like Clarke, look at this work focusing on the development of a self-identity from a woman's perspective, completely ignoring the plight and journey of the men in the novel.... [tags: Hurston Their Eyes Watching God Essays]
2713 words (7.8 pages)
- Janie’s Growth in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie has allowed us to better understand the restraints that women in society had to deal with in a male dominated society. Her marriage with Logan Killicks consisted of dull, daily routines. Wedding herself to Joe Starks brought her closer to others, than to herself. In her final marriage to Vergible Woods, also known as Tea Cake, she finally learned how to live her life on her own. In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie suffered through many difficult situations that eventually enabled her to grow into an independent person.... [tags: Eyes Watching God Essays Hurston Papers]
1341 words (3.8 pages)
- Identity in Hurtson’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Kingston’s Woman Warrior, and Spiegelman’s Maus Despite being a very diverse literature genre in terms of influence and inspiration, North American literature encompasses many works that share some very common thematic elements. Though there are several themes shared, one in particular can be found in most any work – the importance of identity. Particularly in some selected pieces yet to be named, identity is a very important element, not only because it is a necessity for a main character in any work of literature, but because these works express ideas about identity as being very individualistic – as opposed to being a mere result of cu... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
1253 words (3.6 pages)
- The movie and the book of Their Eyes Were Watching God both tell the story of a young woman’s journey to finding love; however, the movie lacks the depth and meaning behind the importance of Janie’s desire for self-fulfillment. Oprah Winfrey’s version alters the idea from the book Zora Neale Hurston wrote, into a despairing love story for the movie. Winfrey changes Hurston’s story in various ways by omitting significant events and characters, which leads to a different theme than what the novel portrays.... [tags: Oprah Winfrey, Zora Neale Hurston, love]
1463 words (4.2 pages)
- Oftentimes, the quest for self discovery centers on the search for one’s voice. In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching Gd the reader learns about Janie, the novel’s protagonist and hero, as she tells her friend Phoebe how she found her identity. Early on the reader learns that language is an important motif in the novel, yet, Zora Neale Hurston deliberately leaves out Janie’s voice in the scene where she uses it to save her life (acquit her of murder). In this scene, Janie does not speak through direct discourse or free mixed indirect discourse; her testimony is relayed to the reader through the narrator.... [tags: Literary Analysis, Zora Neale Hurston]
2021 words (5.8 pages)
- Their Eyes Were Watching An Emmy: Not God Throughout the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the reader is painted a picture by Ms. Hurston but completely blindsided if they ever sat down to actually watch this horrid slaughter of what was a classic piece of literature. The screen play just another “ pet project “ for Oprah Winfrey, diminishes the light in which Ms. Zara Neal Hurston herself, portrayed is completely altered to fit the television, sex driving industry in which Ms. Winfrey subdues to the viewers.... [tags: Zora Neale Hurston novel vs. Oprah version]
850 words (2.4 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston opens Their Eyes Were Watching God with an eloquent metaphor regarding dreams: “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time (Hurston 1).” Hurston describes here how some dreams are achieved with time while others lurk out of reach until the dreamer gives up. Janie Crawford, protagonist of Their Eyes Were Watching God, encounters numerous ambitions throughout her life, mainly concerning a desire to somehow achieve something in life, and to not just go through the... [tags: Literacy Analysis ]
1954 words (5.6 pages)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston focuses on the evolution of an African-American woman as she goes through adulthood and three marriages in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston expresses the framed narrative through Janie Crawford’s point of view as she recounts her story to her friend Phoeby, and uses two dialects throughout the novel. The clear dichotomy of the narrator’s diction and the characters’ African-American dialect gives importance toward Janie’s struggles and progress to find her strength and independence.... [tags: african-american woman, freedom, slavery]
780 words (2.2 pages)
- Throughout a person’s lifetime, he or she is likely to encounter a death that will have a profound effect on the way they look at themselves and the world around them. This is true for Janie Crawford, the main character of the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. The book takes place in the early 1900s and follows the life of a young black woman named Janie; her story is told in the form of a flashback as she describes her life to her friend Pheoby. Her tale begins when she is a teenager, illustrating her life with her grandmother and three different men up until her return to Eatonville.... [tags: janie crawford, death, self determination]
1291 words (3.7 pages)
- Throughout history, women conformed to societal expectations of marrying for financial security rather than pursuing a strong emotional relationship. In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the protagonist Janie struggles to find her autonomy through the ubiquitous scrutiny from others. While transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, Janie’s internal conflicts in self exploration heighten, forcing her to comply to other’s opinions. Once wedded to Tea Cake does Janie finally comprehend her cause of happiness: love.... [tags: Love, Marriage, Interpersonal attraction, Emotion]
1115 words (3.2 pages)
The relationship between Tea Cake and Janie is one that is filled with love and laughter. Tea Cake was smiling, “At five-thirty a tall man came into the place/‘Good evenin’’ Mis’ Starks,’ he said with a sly grin as if they had a good joke together” (Hurston 94). From the time he met Janie, to the time he married her. Whenever he was around her, she could not help but smile. He began to hang around the store more often, and he and Janie became friends. He convinced her to adventurous things like, go fishing, take up shooting game, and even playing checkers. She feels free enough to be herself around him, because he does not put in an emotional prison as Joe did. After Joe died she purges her soul of the way he treated her, which prepared her for the love she receives from Tea Cake when he enters her life. It was not too long after that he began courting Janie. Just like the blossoms she witnessed blooming on the pear tree as a young girl; Tea Cake caused her to blossom again, “Though Tea Cake is no ‘Janie’s liberator,’ his style of love and intersubjectivity it invites Janie’s memory of Erotic liberation, at least temporarily, a possibility” (Bealer 319). The kind of love that Tea Cake and her share is the kind she had imagined since she was a young girl under the pear tree.He and her eventually marry and move to a place called the “muck” in the Florida Everglades. Life in the muck is the polar opposite of life in Eatonville. nstead of a big, white house, she lived in a shack by Lake Okechobee. Instead of sitting around all day looking like the wife of a mayor, Janie went out into the fields and picked beans. Their life in the muck was a simple and after a long day of work their shack became the center for everyone to gather and relax after a long at of working out in the fields. Be that as it may, life was not always that uncomplicated and simple. Take for instance when Tea Cake hits Janie. Mrs. Turner, a mulatto women who owned an eating place in the muck, dislike like black people—especially Tea Cake. One day he came home and heard her talking about talking about him and how she wanted Janie to meet her brother. “When Mrs. Turner’s brother came and she brought him over to be introduced, Tea Cake had brainstorm: (Hurston 147). He whipped Janie not because he was angry at her but to reassure himself that she still belonged to him, and to show her show her that he was in charge. Marla L. Weitzman says that after this beating, “seeing Janie’s independence is quite difficult once the narrator uses the word “possession.” And not only does Tea Cake hit Janie, but, by doing so, he also earns the regard of the community of men” (Weitzman 62). Another instance where life in the muck is once again disturbed is the hurricane. The hurricane is a major life changing event for Janie, and her relationship with Tea Cake. It is a chaotic force of nature that uproots Janie and Tea Cake’s life on the muck, causing them to flee the destructive force, “The monstopolous beast had left his bed. The two hundred miles an hour wind had loosed his chains. He seized hold of his dikes and ran forward until he met the quarters; uprooted them like grass and rushed on after his supposed-to-be-conquerors, rolling the dikes, rolling houses, rolling the people in the houses along with other timbers. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel” (Hurston 162). It stands for anarchy and turmoil. While fleeing the hurricane, Janie was caught and carried away by the wind, “She screamed terribly and released the roofing which sailed away as she plunged downward into the water” (165). She grabbed onto the tail of cow that was swimming by with a rabid dog on its back—that made to attack Janie while she was holding on to the cow’s tail. Tea fought off the dog to save Janie, but was bitten in the process. About four weeks after the hurricane had passed, they had returned to the muck, and Tea Cake began to show the symptoms of the bite he had received from the mad dog, “About the middle of the fourth week Tea Cake came home early one afternoon complaining of his head. Sick headache that made him lie down for a while” (173). Has time went on he became even sicker; he started to sleep with a gun under his pillow, which concerned Janie. He became mistrustful, and thought Janie was cheating on him, when in reality she was off trying to find medicine to make him better, “Janie saw a changing look come in his face. Tea Cake was gone. Something else was looking out of his face/And she was beginning to feel fear of this strange thing in Tea Cake’s body” (181-182). He had gone mad, because he had contracted rabies from the bite of the mad dog. The hurricane was like a baptism of their relationship, because it irrevocably changed it. He became so mad from the rabies bite that one night he tried to kill Janie, “Saw the ferocious look in his eyes and went mad with fear…/She threw up the barrel of the rifle in frenzied hope and fear/He paid no more attention to the pointing gun than if it were Janie’s dog finger/The fiend in him must kill and Janie was the only living thing he saw/The pistol and the rifle rang out almost together” (184). This key moment in the novel demonstrates Janie finally standing up from herself. She chose to save her own life.
Shooting Tea Cake is Janie’s affirmation that her life is worth living. Her voice is more than just speech; it is a positive sense of her. At her trial, even though she does not physically tell her story, Hurston made the jurors and spectators see that she could never kill Tea Cake out of spitefulness, “Despite critical concern with the narrator replacing Janie’s voice at this crucial moment, we must recognize that Janie has already made the reader see, that voice at this moment is subordinate to the ability to visualize, an effect that may be heightened by Hurston’s deflection of Janie’s story” (Clarke 610). Her voice as freed her because it creates a space in which she can relate her experience to the world. Her voice as freed her because it creates a space in which she can relate her experience to the world. “Though Janie does learn to assert her own will and subjectivity throughout the course of the novel, she must constantly combat the pervasive hierarchies that make black women vulnerable to oppression” (Bealer 312). Not only does she combat these hierarchies and win, but the victories have made her a stronger woman. As the story began so it ended, with Janie telling her story to her best friend, Pheoby. Janie recounting her story to Pheoby, does not undermine her ability to tell her story directly in her own voice. She tells her story to Pheoby so that Pheoby can tell it to others, but she cannot do so with the full understanding and this is why the story is told in a flashback, “ ‘Ah don’t mean to bother wid tellin’ ’em nothin’, Pheoby. ’Tain’t worth de trouble. You can tell’em what Ah say if you wants to. Dat’s just de same as me ’cause mah tongue is in mah friend’s mouf’ ” (Hurston 6). At the end of her story she tells Pheoby, “you got tuh go there tuh know there” (192). All of the men helped to broaden her horizon and shape her into the person she is. Her journey enlightened her to herself and her voice.
Bealer, Tracy L. " 'The Kiss Of Memory': The Problem Of Love In Hurston's 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'." African American Review 2/3 (2009): 311-327.
Clarke, Deborah. "The Porch Couldn't Talk For Looking": Voice And Vision In "Their Eyes Were Watching God." African American Review 35.4 (2001): 599-613
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God : A Novel / Zora Neale Hurston ; With A New Foreword By Mary Helen Washington. n.p.: New York : HarperCollins, 1999.
Racine, Maria J. "Voice And Interiority In Zora Neale Hurston's `Their Eyes.." African American Review 28.2 (1994): 283.
Stein, Rachel. "Remembering The Sacred Tree: Black Women, Nature And Voodoo In Zora Neale Hurston's Tell My Horse And Their Eyes Were Watching God." Women's Studies 25.5 (1996): 465-482.
Weitzman, Marla L. "Understanding Janie: From "The Bone Of Contention" To Their Eyes Were Watching God." Studies In American Humor 3.24 (2011): 59-69