Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God

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I enjoyed Their Eyes Were Watching God's grasp on imagination, imagery and phrasing. Janie's dialogue and vernacular managed to carry me along, slipping pieces of wisdom to me in such a manner that I hardly realize they are ingesting something deep and true. Their Eyes Were Watching God recognizes that there are problems to the human condition, such as the need to possess, the fear of the unknown and resulting stagnation. The book does not leave us with the hopelessness of Fitzgerald or Hemingway, rather, it extends a recognition and understanding of humanity's need to escape emptiness. "Dem meatskins is got tuh rattle tuh make out they's alive (183)" Her solution is simple: "Yuh got tuh go there tuh know there." Janie sets out on a quest to make sense of her inner questionings- a void she knew she possessed from the moment she sat under the pear tree.

"She found an answer seeking her, but where?...where were the shining bees for her (11)?" Though tragedy invades her life, it does not cripple her, but strengthens her. Alone at novel's end, having loved and lost, Janie sits in her home, banished of the "feeling of absence and nothingness (183)." Her road to discover led to herself, and she gains a better understanding of the world she lives in and how small a thing happiness is comprised of: "If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don't keer if you die at dusk. It's so many people never seen de light at all. (151)" . The struggle Janie emerged from to find her inner self needed men as a catalyst. The male/female relationship cannot be duplicated with a female/female one.

Logan Killick's ownership of her being could not have happened with a woman counterpart. After marrying Killicks for protection rather than love, Janie realizes that she is living Nanny's dreams rather than her own. She also realizes that with protection comes obligation-Killicks feels he deserves to slap her around. With that discovery, she makes the choice to escape with Jody and his ambitious ideas.

Joe seems closer to her ideal, closer to the dream of marriage that she has nourished despite opposition. Jody is complex. He represents a whole host of things, including the attempt of the black man to gain wealth and power, his effort to pattern success and failure after the model of the white man ("she was proud of what she saw....


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...k Southern life.

She chose to depict the need for individualism, the need to retain that marvelousness of black society known as storytelling- -tantamount to the book. But the Black arts movement had become a grindstone, making the same out of all it touched. Hurston refused to accept the idea that "racism had reduced black people to mere ciphers...whose culture is 'deprived' when different." She characterized her contemporaries who possessed that ideology in Starks and Nanny Crawford, who have been victimized by the power relations of their society, but seek only to change their status within the prevailing system. Through Janie, Hurston rejects the system's terms altogether and finds fulfillment in interpreting her own experience. Hurston implies that such an individual decision can be more important than political protest. Janie was not limited by her race or sex or class, but by the attitudes others sought to make her take towards those conditions. In rejecting those limiting attitudes, Janie remade the meaning of her experience. Hurston asserts her faith in such women and celebrates the Janies of the world--and her own departure from such attitudes--in Their Eyes.

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