Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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The late first lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Hate and force cannot be in just a part of the world without having an effect on the rest of it." Mrs. Roosevelt means that although one person may feel alone through the hardships one faces, one has millions beside oneself who can relate to and understand what one may feel. Zora Neale Hurston shows that even though Janie's family and spouses continue to be abusive and harsh toward Janie, their hate and control left her stronger than before, preparing her for the next challenges thrown at her. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the deaths' of close relatives and family positively affect Janie because she tends to become more educated and wiser with each death she overcomes in the obstacles she calls her life.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is positively affected by Joe Stark's death because she finally feels free of all control. The narrator says, “Weeping and wailing outside. Inside the expensive black folds were resurrection and life. She did not reach for anything, nor did the things of death reach inside to disturb her calm. She sent her face to Joe’s funeral, and herself rollicking with the springtime across the world” (Hurston 88). This represents the positive effects of Joe’s death because Jamie finally feels safe and secure; and most importantly, free. All though, she conceals her true feelings and thoughts from the town in fear of becoming socially un-accepted. At the funeral, Janie becomes “a wall of stone and steel”, where she shows no emotions, a gray face covering up the colorful feelings going on inside. In addition, Janie tries to rid herself of the objects that remind her of the things that represent the control people have over her. The narrator says, " Befo...


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... Although the forces of the world may be unknowable and at times painful, she is at peace with them. She has found true love, which has enabled her to find her voice. This final image of Janie “pulling in her horizon” contrasts with the opening image of men’s “ships at a distance.” These metaphorical ships suggest that regardless of their ultimate success or failure, men dream of great accomplishments, of working on and changing their external worlds. Even if the ship comes in, it still originates as something external. Janie’s pulling in her horizon shifts the field of action to the interior. Her quest requires experiences of the world, of other people and places, but it is ultimately directed inward. Would you go the distance to find who you are?










Works Cited

Hurston, Zora N. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.

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