Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Essay

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Essay

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Zora Hurston was an African American proto-feminist author who lived during a time when both African Americans and women were not treated equally. Hurston channeled her thirst for women’s dependence from men into her book Their Eyes Were Watching God. One of the many underlying themes in her book is feminism. Zora Hurston, the author of the book, uses Janie to represent aspects of feminism in her book as well as each relationship Janie had to represent her moving closer towards her independence.
Janie’s first relationship was with Logan Killicks. She married him only because she wanted to appease her grandmother. Logan did not truly love Janie, but saw her as an asset to increase his own power. Logan expressed this through several actions. He first tries to use her to "increase his profits" rather than treating her as a wife when he travels to Lake City to buy a second mule so Janie can use it to plow in the potato field because potatoes were "bringin' big prices”. When Janie later refused to work at his command, stating that it was not her place to do so, Logan told her, "You ain't got no particular place. It's wherever Ah need yuh". After Logan told her this, Janie decided she had to either escape or face becoming her husband's mule for life. Janie stood up to her husband. This is a feminist action because Janie is willing to leave a husband who makes her unhappy, which was rare act of independence and defiance for women living in the 1930’s. To free herself from her marriage with Logan Killicks, she only needed to invalidate the elements of his symbolic vision. She recognized that for Killicks marriage was primarily a financial arrangement, and his sixty acres acted both as a sign and guarantee of matrimonial un...


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... It represented Janie finally finding her independence and liberation from male oppression.
One of the underlying themes Zora Neale Hurston put in her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God was feminism. Hurston used each of Janie’s three marriages to represent Janie moving closer to her liberation and freedom from male dominance. She finally found her liberation and became truly independent after graduating from her final relationship with Tea Cake by killing him.



Works Cited

Cassidy, Thomas. Bloom's Guide: Zora Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Infobase Publishing, 2009.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937.
Walker, Kristen. "Feminism Present in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." 7 February 2007. Yahoo Voices. 27 January 2014 .

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