Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye

Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye

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"Dey all useter call me Alphabet 'cause so many people had done named me different names," Janie says (Hurston 9). The nickname "Alphabet" is fitting in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God because Janie is always changing and rearraging, never the same. Janie Crawford was constantly searching for happiness, self-realization, and her own voice. Janie dares not to fit the mold, but rather defy it to get what she wants. On the journey to find her voice, she marries three separate men and each one of these men contribute to Janie’s quest in different ways.
In the beginning, the pear tree symbolizes Janie’s yearning to find within herself the sort of harmony and simplicity that nature embodies. However, that idealized view changes when Janie is forced to marry Logan Killicks, a wealthy and well-respected man whom Janie’s Nanny set her up with. Because Janie does not know anything about love, she believes that even if she does not love Logan yet, she will find it when they marry. Upon marrying Logan, she had to learn to love him for what he did, not for that infallible love every woman deserves. After a year of pampering, Logan becomes demanding and rude, he went as far to try to force Janie to do farm work. It was when this happened that Janie decided to take a stand and run away with Joe. At this time, Janie appears to have found a part of her voice and strong will. In a way, she gains a sense of independence and realizes she has the power to walk away from an unhealthy situation and does not have to be a slave to her own husband.
After moving to Eatonville and marrying Joe, Janie discovers that people are not always who they seem to be. While Joe at first seemed to be easy-going and friendly, she wa...

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... stay" (Salinger 205). He is repulsed by fake people and wants to be satisfied by something real--something true he can grasp onto. Just as Janie is similar to Holden, Holden is also similar to Janie. Janie is a woman who has overcome the rules and restrictions she was given. Janie was nothing but "a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels" (Hurston 72). Eventually, Janie made it her purpose to rebel against this mold.
By the end of the story, Janie has accomplished finding and conquering self-actualization, she has reached her enlightenment through the her marriages to Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake. It is apparant when she tells Pheoby, “You got tuh go there tuh know there..Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves" (Hurtson 183).

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