Jamie's Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Jamie's Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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One of the most prevalent themes in, "Their eyes were watching God" is Jamie’s undivided quest for love and independence. Jamie has a goal throughout the novel to find spiritual enlightenment and reach the "horizon". She went through several relationships and chimerical thoughts to do this, through her grandmother nanny and her three husbands. However, her third husband, tea cake plays a less substantial role in the novel but a significant role in Jamie quest to reach her dream of love, independency and security within herself.

In the beginning of the book, Hurston foreshadows the issue of Jamie’s quest for love. She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze and the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She was a dust bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to the tiniest branch and creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage! (pg. 11). Hurston is foreshadowing the central issue of her novel; Jamie’s quest to reach her horizon. The unification of the bee and flower is the fulfillment and reflection of love that Jamie desires through her give and take love relationships throughout the novel.

In Jamie’s begging quest for love she meets her first husband Logan, in which she is tricked in to the illusion of love by her nanny. “Cause you told me Ah mus gointer love him, and, and Ah don’t Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah could do it” (pg. 23). Jamie realizes that nanny portrayed love as money and respect, but Janie wanted both emotional and physical love in which Logan couldn’t provide. Jamie starts meeting a man named Joe Starks who she is an essential alteration in her loveless marriage. “ Every day after that they managed to meet in the scrub oaks across the road and talk about when he would be a big ruler of things with her reaping the benefits. Janie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for far horizon” ( pg. 29). I Janie’s eyes Joe could be her horizon that she is searching for.

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Janie decides to end her loveless marriage and she believes that Joe is going to represent the bee, or love that she doesn’t have in her life. “From now until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom” ( pg. 32) Joe Sparks dismantles Janie’s dreams of love and independence by constant harassment and oppression of her beauty. He restricts Janie of her rights to be what she wants to be and turns their marriage in to another loveless marriage. “She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be” ( pg. 72). Janie quest for love has been suspended once again but she still has faith.” She was saving up feelings for some man she had never seen” (pg.72). As soon as Joe Spark dies Janie feels the sense of independence that she wants; however, she is still hasn’t found her “bee” in order to secure her quest, but she found self worth and independence. “ The young girl was gone, but a handsome women had takem her place. “She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair” (pg. 87). Janie’s liberation of her best is depicted when she expresses how frustrated she is with her Nanny and how Nanny deceitfully portrayed love as money. “Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made the horizon-for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you” (pg.89). Shorlty after Janie starts to feel a sense of accomplishment for being independent, Tea Cake shows up. Tea Cake becomes the catalyst that influents Janie ‘s life long dream to become a reality.

The moment Tea Cake met Jamie; Janie knew that it was love at first sight. “ She couldn’t make him look just like any other man to her He looked like the love thoughts of a women. He could be a bee to a blossom- a pear tree blossom in the spring. “He was a glance from God” (pg. 106). Tea Cake was unlike any other guy to Janie, he fulfilled her ultimate quest for love. “But it was always going to be dark if Tea Cake didn’t come back soon” ( pg. 120). Janie made it clear that Tea Cake meant everything to her unlike Jody and Logan she wanted to spend every minute of time she has with Tea Cake. So you aims tuh Partake wid everything, hunh?” ( pg. 124). “ Dat would be fine, Tea cake, exceptin’ you know Ah can’t shoot. But Ah’d love tuh go wid you” (pg. 103).. “ Dancing, fighting, singing, crying, laughing, winning, and losing love every hour” (pg.131). Janie ran away form Logan and didn’t care when Jody dies, but she has a spiritual bind with Tea Cake, which represents that vision of love she saw outside the pear tree between the bee and the flower. Another example that represents the fortitude of their love is when Tea Cake risks his life to save Janie. “ The dog stood up and growled like a lion, stiff standing hackles, stiff muscles, teeth uncovered as he lashed up his fury for the charge. “Tea Cake split the water like an otter, opening his knife as he dived” (pg. 166). This part is significant for Jamie, it shows how much Tea Cake lover by risking his love for Janie and allows Janie to grow ever closer to her quest for true love. Janie relizes the importance that Tea Cake had in her life when she had to kill him. “ Janie held his head tightly to her breast and wept and thanked him wordlessly for giving her the chance for loving service. She had to hug him tight for soon he would be gone, and she had to tell him for the last time” (pg. 184). Tea Cake was the final element tha Janie needed in her life. Tea Cake was a spiritual gift to Janie and gave her childhood dream of true love. “ Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and libe by comparisons. Dis house ain’t so absent of things lak it used tuh be befo’ Tea Cake come along” (pg. 191.). The most important thing that Tea Cake gave Janie was security and happinees within herself. “So Ah’m back home agin and Ah’m satisfied tuh be heah” (pg. 191). Jamie is able to come back to Eatonville where she was treated poorly and where she wrongfully left her first husband. She’s able to do this because of the strength that she gained through Tea Cake and the adeptness to be by herself.

Although Zora Neal Hurston did not choose Tea Cake to be the main character; he had a staggering presence and enmeshment in Jamie’s life. Tea Cake’s influence on Jamie allowed her to reach her enlightment through true love which in turn allowed Jamie to find a voice. Tea Cake let Jamie find fulfillment and enlightenment which allowed Jamie to find her independency. Tea Cake was an essential element in the evolution of Jamie’s ‘horizon.”
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