“’…but she don’t seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.’” A woman’s search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
In the continuing philosophical debate of free will versus determinism, the question arises as to whether or not free will exists. Do people really have the capability of making decisions on their own? OR Is life already determined, and whatever we do is (and always was) the only thing that we could have done at that time, conditions being what they were? Given the circumstances in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, I would argue that, while free will does exist, in my view, and a person can choose most of their actions through careful decision making, the main character, Janie, has the majority of her life planned out for her already. Whatever Janie does is governed by the laws of cause and effect; every one of her actions has a reaction. In Janie’s quest to find herself, she does make some decisions on her own, but her decisions only lead her to her destiny, so, how can we say that Janie really has free will? The truth is that you cannot determine if Janie has free will or not. Even though it is a fiction novel, and the reader is aware that the author has Janie already figured out, we can still say that Janie does not have free will. Janie’s actions are mainly determined for her by people, events, and other things out of her control. It is because of Janie’s character and personality that the reader can know she does not have the complete power to take her life into her own hands. Janie is an African American woman which is enough to determine a heavy amount of her future for her. Hurston tries to give Janie a chance to think for herself, but, mostly, Janie does not have the power to take on these situations.
According to philosophy professor Steven M. Cahn, premise number two of the argument for determinism states that, “In the case of every event that occurs, there are antecedent conditions, known or unknown, that ensure that the event will occur.” Zora Neale Hurston was aware of the argument for determinism. Hurston makes her reader believe that, at times, Janie does have free will, but her life is already planned out. With enough knowledge of Janie’s character, the rea...
... middle of paper ...
...gether. It is not until the end of the story that Janie begins to think for herself and find out who she really is.
Janie’s life was planned out for her. She did make a few decisions on her own like when she left her first husband, Logan Killicks, but Janie only brought about more problems for herself by running off with Joe Starks. All of her husbands had control over her because she allowed herself to appear weak and vulnerable. Janie did not know any better. Nanny had kept Janie sheltered, and Janie had to learn about life on her own. At the end of the story, this happens, and Janie does seem to become a stronger person. But Janie never quite gets a grip on life because she is not a strong person to begin with. Her helplessness allows her to be controlled by other people. These other people like Nanny, Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake make many of Janie’s decisions for her. Much of Janie’s life is determined for her by these people in her life as well as other things and events around her. Janie did not have the knowledge to take care of herself. She was not raised that way. Janie’s life was governed by the laws of cause and effect, and not by her own free will.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston centers around the life of Janie Crawford, an African American young woman, who is seeking ‘the horizon’ comprised of ideal living, experiences, and authentic love. After having two failed marriages, Janie meets Tea Cake, a suave, charming younger man who truly loves Janie. By exposing Janie to the world, and providing her with experiences and memories, Tea Cake directs her to the ‘horizon,’ where she can lead a fulfilling life. The selected passage begins as Janie concludes sharing her story with Phoeby.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston,]
1021 words (2.9 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God: Exposing Strength to Defy Society Although happiness can be attained by everyone, not everyone is able to choose their own contentment. Criticism has been and still is a problem in today’s society. Some people are forced to do what others tell them to do, not allowing them to decide the paths of their life. This problem can be observed in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s quest for her identity emerges from her experiences, which make her discover that strength is the key to find self-fulfillment and true happiness despite a cruel society.... [tags: Marriage, Happiness, Their Eyes Were Watching God]
1028 words (2.9 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston, an acclaimed African-American writer, wrote the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God during a time when women did not have a large say in their marriages. The novel follows the main character Janie in her quest to find what she thinks is true love and happiness. Hurston highlights the idea of healthy and unhealthy relationships throughout Janie’s three marriages. Each marriage had its advantages but they were largely overshadowed by their disadvantages resulting in Janie learning the hard truth about married life for a women of color in the 1920s.... [tags: Love, Marriage, Their Eyes Were Watching God]
1211 words (3.5 pages)
- In the novel The Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston the main character, Janie goes through many events that shows her growing up. Also these events show her becoming an educated woman who finds herself. From her first kiss to her three relationships the author makes this change in Janie visible. Throughout the novel these events show Janie maturing and becoming educated about herself and the world around her. From a young age Janie Crawford has always been a beautiful girl. She lived with her grandmother, Nanny while growing up with a white family, The Washburns and she played with all their children.... [tags: Marriage, Love, Their Eyes Were Watching God]
1321 words (3.8 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston an early twentieth century Afro-American feminist author, was raised in a predominately black community which gave her an unique perspective on race relations, evident in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston drew on her on experiences as a feminist Afro-American female to create a story about the magical transformation of Janie, from a young unconfident girl to a thriving woman. Janie experiences many things that make her a compelling character who takes readers along as her companion, on her voyage to discover the mysteries and rewards life has to offer. Zora Neale Hurston was, the... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
3388 words (9.7 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston portrays the religion of black people as a form of identity. Each individual in the black society Hurston has created worships a different God. But all members of her society find their identities by being able to believe in a God, spiritual or other. Grandma’s worship of Jesus and the “Good Lawd,” Joe Starks’ worship of himself, Mrs. Turner’s worship of white characteristics, and Janie’s worship of love, all stem from a lack of jurisdiction in the society they inhabit.... [tags: Hurston Their Eyes Watching God Essays]
1505 words (4.3 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God It’s no wonder that “[t]he hurricane scene in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a famous one and [that] other writers have used it in an effort to signify on Hurston” (Mills, “Hurston”). The final, climactic portion of this scene acts as the central metaphor of the novel and illustrates the pivotal interactions that Janie, the protagonist, has with her Nanny and each of her three husbands. In each relationship, Janie tries to “’go tuh God, and…find out about livin’ fuh [herself]’” (192).... [tags: Hurston Eyes Watching God Essays]
2177 words (6.2 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God “’…but she don’t seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.’” A woman’s search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the continuing philosophical debate of free will versus determinism, the question arises as to whether or not free will exists. Do people really have the capability of making decisions on their own. OR Is life already determined, and whatever we do is (and always was) the only thing that we could have done at that time, conditions being what they were.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Philosophy Essays]
1403 words (4 pages)
- Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) is a search for self-fulfillment and true love. On a porch in a small town called Eatonville a story is told about an attractive African American women's journey. Her name is Janie Crawford. Her struggle to find companionship and herself starts as a young girl who had lost both of her parents. She lives with her grandmother who is a nanny for a wealthy white family. Janie would play with the children without realizing a difference in their race.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
856 words (2.4 pages)
- Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as a Creation Story Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is, among other things, a creation story. For creation stories are not simply myths about the historical origins of the universe and humankind but metaphors for individual maturation. Individual perception is, to a large extent, what constitutes the world. Hence, the individual is the source and embodiment of the world; Janie is, the narrator tells us, “the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop” (72).... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
2560 words (7.3 pages)