Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

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Their Eyes Were Watching God



De white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out… de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world as fur as Ah can see (14).

The white man is on the top of the social and economic hierarchy. He holds the power, and due to this power has a privilege commanding respect and performed labors. The people who comply are the African-American men. However, there is a second hierarchy for the black men under the white man's privileges. To assume some sort of position of power they use whatever influence they have, consequentially the black women are categorized lastly. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, African-American women are portrayed as mules of society (Perennial Classics, c.1998, Harper Collins Pubs.). They are born with an assumed gender role forcing them into a life of constant expectation and unappreciation. They are, in all actuality, the beasts of burden. By comparing the lives of African American women and mules it is evident that they both work for others benefits, they both are property of men, and they both carry the biggest burden. Mules are abused, mistreated, ridiculed, and overworked, so are black women.
Women, like mules, work for others benefits. A prominent example of this is Janie's Grandmother. Even though she has gained her freedom, she still lives her life as a civil servant for a white family, the Washburn's. She cannot see another option, and gains nothing from her position. She is working in the household for the benefit of Mrs. Washburn in particular, ...


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... met his expectations. She bears the burden similar to that of many other black women. She holds the responsibility of her marriage, and its well fair in her hands. If anything were to falter, it would consequently be her fault.
Through the course of the novel the women portrayed bare similar representation to mules. They are continuously unappreciated, overwhelmed with no one to help them, and burdened with high expectations of fulfilling a patriarchal societies requirements. It is easily seen how the animal the mule can represent similar qualities given to African American women. Starting with white men, and working down the social scale of class, black women are at the bottom of everyone's world. Throughout endless struggles, unbeneficial work, and a title of property bestowed on their heads, black women's work holds a strong relation to that of mules.

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