The response to abuse has metamorphosed drastically from Janie’s time to present day. During the days of the early 20th century in which the novel was set, spousal abuse was accepted and even promoted in some cases. Astonishingly, when Tea talks with the men about beating Janie the men respect Tea Cake and admire the way Janie stays quiet during the ordeal saying, “wouldn’t Ah love tuh whip a tender woman lak Janie” (Hurston 148). They ignore the fact that Tea Cake beats her just to show other people that he is in charge; he beats her because of his own insecurities. In Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple it is shown that the men as well as the women encouraged spousal abuse. When Harpo seeks advice on how to deal with Sophia it is Celie, another woman, who advises him to beat her. Although spousal abuse still occurs in many households today, it occurs in secrecy because there are laws that have been erected to protect against this type of abuse, and the punishment for this crime is harsh. Today, if a man hits a woman he is less of a man and a disgrace, not praised and admired as in the past.
Although Janie endures the beatings fro...
... middle of paper ...
...men judgment of Janie still reflects the judgment of society today.
Janie is a victim of circumstance, but when given the opportunity she follows the pathways that she thinks would lead her to her self-fulfillment. She endures whatever she is put through when she sees no other option. She is strong, outspoken and independent; a woman born in a time period where all of these qualities, when present in a woman, were taboo. However, these qualities were still displayed despite the criticism of society. In this sense, Janie is stronger than many modern women because she was courageous enough to stand up for herself and her beliefs despite all obstacles and opinions.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006
Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. New York: Pocket Books-Washington Square, 1982.
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