Comparing Symbolical Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Great Gatsby

Comparing Symbolical Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Great Gatsby

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Symbolical Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Great Gatsby


In some novels, strong impressions are exploited to conceal other meanings. Unraveling these symbolic word puzzles may reveal insights into the author's perspective and one's own secrets.  A careful analysis of selected passages of two books: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Francis Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, will show that symbolical language can reveal even more insight. In this comparison, symbolism in the passages containing variations of the words "blossom" or "blooming" will be examined to reveal human development beyond sexuality and anatomy.

The protagonist, Janie, in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, was sixteen years old when a series of natural events led to her to unlocking the secrets of her own sexuality. "Janie had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back yard" introduces a location suitable for observing a miracle of reproduction in nature. The word "blossoming" indicates the narrator's comments are in the active present tense. The next few sentences, changing to past tense, reveal that this particular day--the third day--was much different than the first two. "That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened." The author poetically reveals progressive stages of pear tree flowers "blooming" along with their pollination by bees. This process so intensely intrigues Janie that her enhanced awareness triggers previously hidden sensual emotions and desires. Janie's continuous observation of the interplay among the plant and insect kingdom--mixed with her own intuitive feelings while lying on her back beneath the pear tree--leads her to a burst of in...


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...prevent Gatsby from relating to other "nice" girls like Daisy (148). In other words, both Janie and Gatsby had stumbled into a new awareness because of major turning points in their lives, but these were just beginnings! They had graduated from being "grown up children," but now they were like "children at being adults" still having much to learn.

The remaining story developments of both books detail further growth in the character development of the protagonists and the principle characters. And so it is with us and how we unravel the mysteries of symbolism in literary word puzzles, that we as readers can also grow like "blossoms blooming" through the eyes of Hurston and Fitzgerald.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1953.

Hurston, Zora N. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row, 1937.

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