In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston basically follows Janie for
her whole life. Hurston, in the beginning of the book, said that women “forget all those things
they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they want to forget. The dream is the
truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” As Huston said, by the time Jane returns to
Eatonville, Janie has discovered herself through her relationships with Logan Killicks, Joe
Starks, and Tea Cake, and we can see that Janie has painfully discovered her real dream.
Therefore, Janie’s life was a quest for true love and self-fulfillment, and Their Eyes Were
Watching God is a narrative about Janie’s quest to free herself from repression and explore
her own identity. Hurston’s narrative also focuses on the emergence of a female self in a
male-dominated world, through Janie, a half-white, half-black girl growing up in Florida in
the early 1930’s.
Janie saw her life as a tree that’s full of life. Once Janie was a teenager, she was
lying beneath a pear tree watching the visiting bees. Janie then saw it as 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” (Hurston, 11). Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her
limp and languid. Under the pear tree, Janie learns what the love and marriage is. Janie
dreams of a true love that would fulfill both her and the “shore”. While Janie was searching
for a true love, she meets a young man named Johnny Taylor and falls in love. Her first
encounter with Johnny Taylor was described as “Through pollinated a...
... middle of paper ...
...the legacy of
Tea Cake still remained.
Throughout the story, Janie learns to live on her own terms, gaining independence
that her peers both long for and are afraid of. Janie used her experience to move forward
toward one goal: to achieve true love. Her first two failed marriages rob her of innocence, but
they were essential steps towards achieving womanhood and independence. As Janie states
later in the book, there are “Two things everybody’s got tuh find themselves. They got tuh go
tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh themselves” (Hurston, 192). Janie finds
herself through her marriages, which plays an important role in shaping her life. And Janie is
now satisfied with herself that she had finally achieved her true love.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: J.B. Lippincott, Inc., 1937.
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