Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston Essay

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston Essay

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In the nineteen thirties, women were raised with a strict criteria for the way they were required to live their lives. Regardless of love, women only strived to marry men who owned great deals of land. In their eyes, the more land their husbands owned, the more stability they were offered. They lived at their husband’s beck and call, and did not openly oppose to their thoughts. Women rarely strayed away from what was socially acceptable, and ignored what the main character, Janie, from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston, could not. Although Janie is raised with this requirement as well, certain events throughout her life triggers a change in the way she views the way she lives her life. Merriam Webster defines awaken as to become conscious or aware of something. Throughout the oscillating process of her awakening, Janie gains self-realization as she seeks her horizons.
A pear tree awakens Janie’s self-fulfillment, sexual awakening, symbolizes her emerging womanhood, and gives her knowledge on love. Janie’s sexual awakening begins under a pear tree when she is sixteen years old in her grandmother’s back yard. Carla Kaplan describes Janie’s self-fulfillment as, “Nonetheless, Hurston's description of Janie's "revelation" is one of the sexiest passages in American literature: But Janie's chances of fulfillment seem very attenuated” (Kaplan 115). Hurston shows Janie’s sexual awakening with the use of bees, “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage!” (11). The pear tree is Janie’s horizon and expe...


... middle of paper ...


...ng in love, she no longer yearns for the pear tree, but she now wants to live for herself.



Works Cited

Campbell, Josie P. Student Companion to Zora Neale Hurston. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2001. 63-68. Print.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.
Kaplan, Carla. "The Erotics Of Talk: `That Oldest Human Longing' In Their Eyes Were Watching God." American Literature 67.1 (1995): 115. Literary Reference Center. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Plant, Deborah G. "The inside Light": New Critical Essays on Zora Neale Hurston. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010. 66-85. Print.
Singer, Michael A. "The Untethered Soul 12-Step Guide to Spiritual Awakening." Weblog post. Oprah.com. OWN, 01 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. .

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