In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the life of Janie is presented as a journey. Janie survives a grandmother, three husbands, and innumerable friends. Throughout this journey, she moves towards her ideals about love and how to live one's life. Hurston chooses to define Janie not by what is wrong in her life, but by what is good in it. Janie undergoes many changes throughout her journey, but the imagery in her life always conjures positive ideas in the mind of the reader.
Janie's life begins under the watchful eye of her grandmother. Her grandmother has given up her own happiness to raise Janie and her mother. Right away, it is obvious that Janie's life is going to be different than her grandmother's. For starters, Janie has very different ideas about love than any other character. She may not be able to clearly define her thoughts, but the reader still sees that Janie's ideas are romantic and full of sensuality. The first glimpse into the past that the reader sees involves Janie underneath a pear tree, watching the flowers bloom. The descriptive language ("From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom" ) beautifully juxtaposed with complex thought ("The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It . . . followed her. . . and caressed her . . ." ) lets the reader experience the same feelings that Janie does, even though she is not yet old enough to fully describe them herself.
Janie's grandmother is old and weak. She never had a person in her life who cared for her and truly wanted to look out for her well-being. As a result, she is frightened by Janie's refusal to follow the mold, ...
... middle of paper ...
...tell it again. She doesn't need to. Janie has lived her life and survived her journey. Zora Neale Hurston closes off Their Eyes Were Watching God with one final, poignant image; Janie "[calling] in her soul to come and see"  the splendor of her life.
Works Cited and Consulted
Bourn, Byron D. "Women's Roles in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain"
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row, 1937.
Johnson, Barbara. "Metaphor, Metonymy and Voice in Their Eyes Were Watching God." Modern Critical Interpretations: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Lubitschek, Cyrena N. "The Role of Imagery in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." American Literature 58.2 (May 1996): 181-202.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Positive Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the life of Janie is presented as a journey. Janie survives a grandmother, three husbands, and innumerable friends. Throughout this journey, she moves towards her ideals about love and how to live one's life. Hurston chooses to define Janie not by what is wrong in her life, but by what is good in it. Janie undergoes many changes throughout her journey, but the imagery in her life always conjures positive ideas in the mind of the reader.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
1090 words (3.1 pages)
- Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God The novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" contains beautiful imagery that conveys the thoughts of the author towards the antagonist of this story, Janie Crawford. Through her four distinct lives as Janie Crawford, Janie Killicks, Janie Starks, and Janie Woods she realizes that each day the sun rises a new change is apparent in her life. The experience of each distinct life makes her realize more about herself than she ever knew before. She comes to a self-revelation about herself.... [tags: Papers]
1000 words (2.9 pages)
- Imagery of the Sea in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee “She Called In Her Soul to Come and See” Both Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee act as accounts of female recognition. The two protagonists of the novels, Janie and Arvay, come realize the significance of personal enjoyment of life for one’s self, and how such an awareness causes you to be surrounded you with people who love you for your own happiness. In both novels Hurston uses literal and figurative imagery of the sea as a symbol for this self-affirmation.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Seraph Suwanee]
589 words (1.7 pages)
- Tree Imagery in Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee Hurston uses the fruit tree as an important image in both of the texts: the blossoming pear tree for Janie and the budding mulberry tree for Arvay. Each holds a unique meaning for its counterpart. In looking at Janie’s interaction with her tree, I chose to focus on the passage on page 11, beginning with “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree…”. For Arvay, I chose the passage on page 37, beginning with “They entered the place under the tree…”.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Seraph Suwanee]
510 words (1.5 pages)
Response to the Article on Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.
- I recently read your article titled “Vodou Imagery, African-American Tradition and Cultural Transformation in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Your article mentions how Zora Neal Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God while she was collecting folklore on Vodou in Haiti. You proceed to discuss the Haitian Vodou imagery present in the novel as well as the influence that it had. You claim that Hurston’s use of Haitian Vodou doesn’t signal a rejection of modernity, but rather an acknowledgement of it (158).... [tags: imagery, goddess, race]
963 words (2.8 pages)
- What we hope for is not always what we need. This is prevalent in the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston where the characters have his or her dream crushed for the sake of fate. This is especially true for Janie who strives throughout the novel to have her dream of “the pear tree” realized, and Hurston shows this using a variation of metaphor, imagery, and personification. Janie’s attempts at achieving her own pear tree and fails, nevertheless this is done so that she can find for herself that adventure and life experiences are more important than love alone.... [tags: metaphor, personification and imagery]
727 words (2.1 pages)
- Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God follows protagonist Janie Mae Crawford’s journey into womanhood and her ultimate quest for self-discovery. Having to abruptly transition from childhood to adulthood at the age of sixteen, the story demonstrates Janie’s eternal struggle to find her own voice and realize her dreams through three marriages and a lifetime of hardships that come about from being a black woman in America in the early 20th century. Throughout the novel, Hurston uses powerful metaphors helping to “unify” (as Henry Louis Gates Jr.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
2923 words (8.4 pages)
- Character Development in Chapter Two of Their Eyes Were Watching God In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God the character of Nanny dies in the beginning of Janie's adventures, but her influence is felt throughout the book. In this way, she is a minor character with effects on the major character. This makes Nanny important. The reader learns a lot about Nanny in last paragraph of chapter two, mainly from her dialogue, including unique syntax and diction, and imagery. "And, Janie, maybe it wasn't much, but Ah done de best Ah kin by you.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
2058 words (5.9 pages)
- Powerful Symbols in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston In 1937, upon the first publication of Their Eyes Were Watching God, the most influential black writer of his time, Richard Wright, stated that the novel "carries no theme, no message, [and] no thought." Wright's powerful critique epitomized a nation's attitude toward Zora Neale Hurston's second novel. African-American critics read a book that they felt satisfied the "white man's" stereotype of African-American culture and the humor which Caucasians saw in that prejudice.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
1406 words (4 pages)
- Janie's Metamorphosis in Their Eyes Were Watching God Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about identity and reality to say the least. Each stage in Janie's life was a shaping moment. Her exact metamorphosis, while ambiguous was quite significant. Janie's psychological identification was molded by many people, foremost, Nanny, her grandmother and her established companions. Reality, identity, and experience go hand in hand in philosophy, identity is shaped by experience and with experience you accept reality.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
912 words (2.6 pages)