Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston Essay

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston Essay

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Not One, Three Marriages
Does love, marriage, and happily ever after actually exist? Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God explores the idea of love and marriage. The main character, Janie sees “her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone” (Hurston 8). She is in search of the romantic love that she experiences in nature as a young girl. Each uniquely different, Janie’s three marriages share many of the same qualities.
Janie’s first marriage, to the much older Logan Killicks, is not one that she desires. Nanny, Janie’s grandmother, arranges the marriage so that Janie has protection and financial security. “Tain’t Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it protection” (Hurston 15). Logan is a successful farmer who owns sixty acres of land and according to Nanny, “a black woman ought to want a man with property and the ability to provide for her” (Lester 4). Janie soon learns that marriage does not compel her childhood idea of love. She “wants to want [Logan] sometimes” but, she finds no physical attraction for him (Hurston 23). “His belly is too big too, now, and his toe-nails look lak mule foots” (Hurston 24). The fact that Logan will not bathe before he comes to bed disgusts Janie.
Logan knows Janie is a spoiled girl and he has helping make her that way. He wants Janie to help him more around the farm as his previous wife did. When Janie does not obey Logan as he sees fit, for the first time, he threatens to “take holt uh dat ax and come in dere and kill [her]!” (Hurston 31). Janie is not angry by what Logan says to her, she simply seems to be numb to it. “She recognizes that their marriage will never fulfill the promise of love she envision...


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...rst time, she is the one who becomes violent. The jealously between the two continues to escalate and before long Tea Cake “had whipped Janie…being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss” (Hurston 147). These incidents do not seem to affect the marriage at all, if anything the two become closer. For the first time, Janie is completely head over heels in love and this love is reciprocated.
Janie has searched for the ideal love from the young age of sixteen. She manages to escape her first marriage in search of something more. Although her second husband paints her the picture of the perfect life, he is unable to deliver the love she so desires. It is said the third time is a charm and in Janie case this is true. Janie’s marriage to Tea Cake fulfills her ideal dream of love.

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