Janie: Victim of Male Dominating Society in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Janie: Victim of Male Dominating Society in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Mary Helen Washington’s essay denies Hurston’s effort to create a liberated female

character in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Washington believes that Janie is actually

excluded “from power, particularly from the power of oral speech”. Janie plays a role of

an object for men to look at and talk about. The consequence of this oppression is shown

after Jody’s death, rather than declaring her freedom, Janie appreciates her own hair by

looking at the mirror just like other men in the town. She is banned from taking part in

the porch talk, so she hides her voice. Even when she speaks, her voice does not lead to

power, action nor contentment, but self-division. Washington disagrees with Barbara

Johnson’s opinion that Janie’s self-division leads to her discovery of her own voice.

When it seems that Janie can finally speak of her own mind while living with Tea Cake,

Tea Cake becomes the center of both her speech and her interior thoughts in fact. Her

voice is still dominated by the male. More surprisingly, she hires Hezikiah to manage

the store with her because he “wa...

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