Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie Crawford, the heroine of the novel is the first Black female character in African American fiction to embark on a journey of self discovery and achieve independence and self understanding (Novels For Students 303). She enters several marriages with many thoughts but of them all, she has universal expectations for each, those expectations are that she will be treated with the utmost respect and if it isn’t present at the beginning, "love will come" no matter what. Though she has three of her serious relationships, Janie does not ever have desires met, even with the one she loved most, Tea Cake. Janie spends much of her life in search of her happiness to find in the end that, she must first make herself happy before she can take enjoyment from others. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford goes through life as a young and spoiled child to a woman of deep endearment over the course of three marriages and relationships. She experiences three men whom are all flawed yet each gives Janie an important aspect of character. She takes from each man a sense of herself; from Logan Killicks, self-worth, from Joe Starks, self-respect, and from Tea Cake, her final husband, love and soulfulness.
In her first relationship, with a farm man named Logan Killicks, Janie, though shortly pampered, feels unloved and unrecognized as a woman as Killicks attempts to make Janie work the land and fields with him. Her marriage to Killicks was an arranged one by Janie’s grandmother, who felt Janie needed to be “married off” as soon as possible to a good man. Her grandmother wants security for her. Janie wants happiness and by trusting her grandmother, more or less, she takes Killicks hand in marriage. Killicks expectancies from Janie were assistance on his farm as well as tending to the many other things he felt were women’s chores. His love was shown through that and so, in essence, for Janie to comply with Killicks ideals was the only way she could demonstrate her love and compassion. Both were set quite deep in their ways prior to their first encounter. Both were very used to getting what they wanted and neither was in their marriage, with Janie having the worse end of the stick.
How to Cite this Page
"Their Eyes Were Watching God." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Dec 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Zora Neale Hurston’s tour de force novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is told through the voice of Janie Crawford. Janie yearns to experience true love, as well has have a sense of self worth. In her early years these two ideas are intermingled, one cannot simply exist without the other. As she ages and goes through the trials and tribulations of love, she comes to find that the two are not mutually exclusive. Janie speaks about her adolescent identity by saying “Dey all useter call me Alphabet ‘cause so many people had done named me different names” (Hurston 9), this goes to show that Janie did not have an identity growing up.... [tags: Marriage, Love, Their Eyes Were Watching God]
1166 words (3.3 pages)
- The traditional human existence encounters immense and miniscule transformations in predominant viewpoints directly affecting subsequent proceedings as individuals embark upon an expedition of lucid self-expression to explore personal identity. Literary pieces produced during times of revolution to gain equality and flourishing cultural advancement as artistic innovations, primarily in the Harlem Renaissance, communicates deliberately the liberation of the individuals frequently portrayed as characters.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God]
785 words (2.2 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston portrays the religion of black people as a form of identity. Each individual in the black society Hurston has created worships a different God. But all members of her society find their identities by being able to believe in a God, spiritual or other. Grandma’s worship of Jesus and the “Good Lawd,” Joe Starks’ worship of himself, Mrs. Turner’s worship of white characteristics, and Janie’s worship of love, all stem from a lack of jurisdiction in the society they inhabit.... [tags: Hurston Their Eyes Watching God Essays]
1505 words (4.3 pages)
- Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God It’s no wonder that “[t]he hurricane scene in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a famous one and [that] other writers have used it in an effort to signify on Hurston” (Mills, “Hurston”). The final, climactic portion of this scene acts as the central metaphor of the novel and illustrates the pivotal interactions that Janie, the protagonist, has with her Nanny and each of her three husbands. In each relationship, Janie tries to “’go tuh God, and…find out about livin’ fuh [herself]’” (192).... [tags: Hurston Eyes Watching God Essays]
2177 words (6.2 pages)
- Love is different for each and every person. For some, it comes easy and happens early in life. For others, such as Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, it happened much later in life after two unsuccessful marriages. Janie’s grandmother, Nanny raised Janie to be attracted to financial security and physical protection instead of seeking love. Nanny continually emphasized that love was something that was bound to happen after those needs were met; even though Nanny never married.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Hurston]
1663 words (4.8 pages)
- Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God Love plays a very important role in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes were watching God. Janie spent her days looking for love. She thought of love just as she thought of the elements of springtime: Sunny days, bright skies, a bee pollinating pear tree blossoms. She searched far and wide for this kind of perfect love. Logan Killicks couldn't give this kind of love to Janie. He may not have loved her at all. To him, Janie was just another working set of hands.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
639 words (1.8 pages)
- Violence in Hurston’s Seraph on the Suwanee and Their Eyes Were Watching God Several scenes from Seraph on the Suwanee parallel scenes from Their Eyes Were Watching God. The scene beginning “The gun came up…” on page 183 of Their Eyes Were Watching God and ending “…pried the dead Tea Cake’s teeth from her arm” on page 184 echoes the scene in Seraph on the Suwanee beginning “She flung her hands up…” on page 145 and ending “ ‘…just as fast as you can’” on page 146. The premise for each scene is identical.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Seraph Suwanee]
884 words (2.5 pages)
- Imagery of the Sea in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee “She Called In Her Soul to Come and See” Both Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee act as accounts of female recognition. The two protagonists of the novels, Janie and Arvay, come realize the significance of personal enjoyment of life for one’s self, and how such an awareness causes you to be surrounded you with people who love you for your own happiness. In both novels Hurston uses literal and figurative imagery of the sea as a symbol for this self-affirmation.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Seraph Suwanee]
589 words (1.7 pages)
- Searching for an Inner-Self in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston a young girl named Janie begins her life unknown to herself. She searches for the horizon as it illustrates the distance one must travel in order to distinguish between illusion and reality, dream and truth, role and self. (Hemenway 75). She is unaware of life?s two most precious gifts: love and the truth. Janie is raised by her suppressive grandmother who diminishes her view of life.... [tags: Hurston Eyes Watching God Essays]
11402 words (32.6 pages)
- Men in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of how a young woman, Janie, finds her place and identity in life. Deborah Clarke argues that slavery in this novel forces women to fade into the background, losing their identity and definition of self. Many critics, like Clarke, look at this work focusing on the development of a self-identity from a woman's perspective, completely ignoring the plight and journey of the men in the novel.... [tags: Hurston Their Eyes Watching God Essays]
2713 words (7.8 pages)
Jody Starks is a man whom is similar to Killicks and to the image of men Hurston seeks to portray, which is that men forever see the world through their own eyes and no other’s. Jody Starks is not entirely similar to Killicks in that he is much more willing to take what he wants by force. Though Janie does not realize it early on, Starks went after her hand in marriage to have another trophy to put on display in his confident and conceited lifestyle. Janie was merely a prize. If there was love, it was Starks love of himself and his marriage to his self-image amongst the townspeople. “During the early years at their twenty year relationship, Joe Starks jealousy sheltered her excessively; during the later years he often abused her because he resented her remaining young and attractive while he aged rapidly”(Contemporary Literary Criticism 216). Starks showed his true motives for Janie gradually as he constantly put her down amongst the townspeople and openly ridicule near every action she took. Starks needed the world and he needed it to know he was there. He felt the need to always be at the forefront and to always have a means to put himself higher than those around him, including obviously, his wife Janie. When Janie does “what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation", relations between Janie and her conceited husband begin to really go down hill because Janie begins to gain stature and status. Starks’ feeling threatened is near immediate and makes him an even more irrational individual and it makes him a quite violent person. When Starks passes away, Janie is without all of the restrictions that made her existence constricting. She has the opportunity and chance to do what she pleases. She even has, more or less, the will to do so. She is not entirely selfish after Starks death but just as well, she is not to forgiving as she claims, "to my thinkin' mourning oughtn't tuh last no longer'n grief". As previously mentioned, Janie’s husbands serve as stepping stones for her progress as a person. They are merely tools to forward her emotional growth, even if she doesn’t see it that way exactly. After leaving behind Killicks and Starks, she takes more with her than bad memories. She has more confidence than ever. She is more proud than on previous occasions. Nonetheless however, she still feels a widening void in her; her emotional growth is not quite complete at this point.
When Janie comes across her next and final husband, she finds instantly a chemistry, a spark in the much younger man. Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods brings compassion and true love into the void that was much of Janie’s life. Tea Cake was everything, everything and more Janie needed and wanted. He made her remember the dreams she once had and the horizons she once felt she was nearing. For example, Tea Cake tries to boost Janie’s esteem when he tries to get her to really understand how beautiful she is. For the first time in a long time, Janie does go ahead and look into the mirror and finally gains assurance and some esteem. Even still though, Tea Cake had problems of his own. But his pursuit of Janie was real unlike her prior marriages. He struggled to change for Janie and to put aside his own wants. Even as Janie ended up finding the man of her dreams in Tea Cake, his untimely death ends all that could have been. Although deeply regretting having to kill Teacake in self defense, Janie comes full circle in her development. She now knows who she is and has found “peace” In the closing lines the narrator tells us, “She pulled in her horizon like a great fishnet.” Through this quote we realize Janie no longer has to seek for meaning outside herself in the world; she has found it within herself (Novels For Students 307). She has, at this point, become so much more of a person than when she was just a young and spoiled child with her grandmother back home. She is changed very much by Tea Cake as the quote “. . .ah never 'spected nothin', Tea Cake, but bein' dead from standin' still and tryin' tuh laugh. But you come 'long and made somethin' outa me. So Ah'm thankful fuh anything we come through together,” shows that she has evolved an understanding for the world and males as well as herself and her own self-worth.(Hurston 158)
At the end of her story “Janie pulls in the horizon that she has spent her whole life searching for. She calls her soul to come in and see. Where once her soul was separate from her, it is now a part of her”( Bookrags.com). As the novel shows, Janie is nearly a completely different person at the conclusion, due mostly to Tea Cake who taught Janie how to get closer to emotions she had always felt she would not. “The irony of the novel that Janie finally finds happiness and fulfillment as a woman and human being with Teacake when happiness had been defined for her all along in terms of social respectability and material possesions” (Contemporary Literary Criticism 224). Janie learns more about herself and had learned to respect herself even through the worst of marriages. Janie, though alone and at the conclusion of her story, has a better outlook on life than at any time prior. Janie Killick Starks Woods is the heroine of the novel is followed through three marriages. The first brings her to safety, the second brings her wealth and prestige and the last that truly brings her love (Contemporary Literary Criticism 241). She is moved by her struggle and with the motivation to make something of it with the time she has left in the world.
Bookrags.com. “Topic tracking: Identity”. 10 Nov. 2006.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. First Perennial Library: New York, 1937.
Neal, Larry. “Their eyes were watching God.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 61. Ed. Matuz, Roger. Detroit: Gale, 1990
Roberts, Jason. “Their eyes were watching God.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 30. Ed. Marowski, Daniel. Detroit: Gale, 1984
“Their eyes were watching God.” Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998.
“Their eyes were watching God.” Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998.
Turner, Darwin. “Their eyes were watching God.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol 30. Ed. Marowski, Daniel. Detroit: Gale, 1984.