Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of how a young woman, Janie, finds her place and identity in life. Deborah Clarke argues that slavery in this novel forces women to fade into the background, losing their identity and definition of self. Many critics, like Clarke, look at this work focusing on the development of a self-identity from a woman's perspective, completely ignoring the plight and journey of the men in the novel. While Logan Killicks, Joe "Jody" Starks, and Vergible "Tea Cake" Woods all play roles in Janie's development, they also deal with their own struggles. Each of the men in her life comes to hold a different form of truth for Janie. Each one brings new life and information into Janie's life, finding their own voice through her in the process. With their own growth and development of a voice at times, the men in Janie's life begin to silence her temporarily in order to assert their individual machismo. Just as Janie struggles to define herself, the male characters also face the task of determining what makes a man a man. Unlike Janie, they fail.
Janie's first marriage to Logan Killicks represents the "foolish marriage of an old man and a young girl" (Ferguson 185). Janie views this union as a way for her to be safe and secure from the dangers of the world that Nanny warns her about. Logan looks at Janie as another pair of hands to help work on the land. Logan Killicks maintains the slave mentality of the past about the value of hard work and the ownership of land. He believes that a man's hard work and dedication to his land form his identity. Logan Killicks, a very practical man, does not put any emphasis o...
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...owth in Their Eyes Were Watching God." Black American Literature Forum 12.1-2 (1987): 185-197.
Hubbard, Dolan. " . .Ah Said Ah's Save de Text for You': Recontextualizing the Sermon to Tell (Her) Story in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." African American Review 27.2 (1993): 167-178.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. , 1998
McGowan, Todd. "Liberation and Domination: Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Evolution of Capitalism." MELUS 24.1 (1999): 109-123.
Racine, Maria J. " Voice and Interiority in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." African American Review 28.2 (1994): 283-293.
Simmons, Ryan. "The Hierarchy Itself': Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and the Sacrifice of Narrative Authority." African American Review 36.2 (2002): 181-194.
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