Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie discovers herself through her relationships with Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake. Each marriage brings her closer to that one thing in life she dreams to have, love. Janie is a woman who has lived most of her life the way other people thought she should. Her mother abandons her when she is young, and her grandmother (Nanny), raises her. Nanny has a very strict moral code, and specific ideas about freedom and marriage.
As the novel opens Janie creates a visual demonstration which lets us know that there is a large difference between her and the other women in the novel (n.p.). She becomes one with her sexuality after lying under a pear tree. Hurston stated, "Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches" (pg.8).This leads to her eventually kissing a young man by the name of Johnny Taylor. Nanny sees her kiss him, and says that Janie is now a woman. (pg. 12) She wants her to marry now and suggests that Janie marry Logan Killicks because he has shown an interest in Janie by always coming around their house. (pg. 13) Janie does not want to marry Logan because she feels he's unattractive and he does not resemble her image of a blooming pear tree. With this being said, Nanny leads Janie to believe no matter who she marrys, she will eventually learn to love them (Kubitschek 23). Janie hated Nanny because of the choices she made for her (pg.85). Thereafter, Nanny arranged for Janie to marry Logan Killicks. She felt that getting married to him will protect Janie from the burdens of being a black woman. Janie did nothing but obey.
Hurston wrote, "The vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but Janie didn't
know how to tell Nanny that. She merely hunched over and pouted at the floor" (Hurston 13). Logan Killicks couldn't give this type of love that Janie is eagered to find. He might not have loved her at all. To him, Janie was just another working put of hands. He cared for her almost like another man. He was thoughtless of her feelings, her hopes, and her objectives. Janie was toiled hard by Logan.
How to Cite this Page
"Their Eyes Were Watching God." 123HelpMe.com. 17 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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)
- Janie’s Learning Experiences in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston "Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches" (8). When Janie was a teenager, she used to sit under the pear tree and dream about being a tree in bloom. She longs for something more. When she is 16, she kisses Johnny Taylor to see if this is what she looks for. Nanny sees her kiss him, and says that Janie is now a woman.... [tags: Their Eyes Watching God Hurston]
1426 words (4.1 pages)
- When one thinks of great literature, authors such as Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, and many others come to mind. These writers created seminal works of American literature and gave credibility to the burgeoning American literary tradition. Their work is revered as great literature for its ability to transcend cultural and generational boundaries and its capacity for appealing to people all over the world. As generations come and go, the body of great literature continually increases. Within the past thirty years a trend has developed where academics, particularly feminists, considered Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God as being great literature.... [tags: Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays]
634 words (1.8 pages)
The matrimony between Joe Starks and Janie is built on money as well as security. With this being said, she leaves Logan Killicks for him because he promises her everything. Joe promises Janie that he will treat her like a queen. She tells him how Logan forced her to do yard work, but Joe explains to her that with him, she will never have to do anything unless she wants to. The thought of living the "good life" excites Janie.Joe is a wealthy young man who sweeps her off her feet into a new atmosphere. They start a new life in a town called Eatonville. Since her husband is a prominent figure in Eatonville, he is elected mayor. She is happy to be the mayor's wife and thinks that she is in love. Jody is in charge of the whole town and advises her to stay at home while he takes care of everything else. Joe's confidence makes her feel secure. However, Joe's controlling nature toward Janie is revealed when she is asked to speak at his inauguration. Joe prevents this by "taking the floor himself," stating, "mah wife don't know nothin' 'bout no speech-makin'. ... She's uh woman and her place is in de home" (p. 51). Just as Joe Starks "cows the town" (p. 55), forcing them to "bow down to him" (p. 59), he dominates his wife. Joe will not allow her to wear her hair long, instead making "her keep her head tied up lak some ole 'oman" so that none of the other men "might touch it round dat store" (p. 59). He keeps her out of the lively conversations and checkers matches held on their store's front porch (p. 82).
As Janie moves from one bad relationship to another, her voice strengthens and she becomes a more mature individual. In the beginning of the novel, she thinks that marriage constitutes love and that spouses loving each other was a given. (Hurston 20) In addition, she also believed that marriage took away all loneliness. Later, she has the courage to tell Jody that he has to die to find out that "you got tuh pacify somebody beside yo'self . . . You ain't tried to pacify nobody but yo'self. Too busy listening to yo' own big voice" (82).. Janie is actually asserting herself with Jody and he cannot handle the power of her words. Another significant event in this scene occurs when Janie considers what happens in making a voice out of a man. His big voice does make a big woman out of her but not in the way that he anticipates. As Janie looks into the mirror, she realizes that the young girl she used to be is gone and she was now a woman.
The next man Janie meets is Tea Cake. Tea Cake makes her no promises and has nothing to offer her except his love, differentiating himself from his predecessors who pledged to meet her every desire. Janie does not expect much of the relationship, and is therefore amply rewarded. Tea Cake's devotion and simplistic adoration for her, which may have been partially due to the gap in their ages, is a breath of fresh air to Janie after her previous marital imprisonments. She feels infinitely free to do as she wishes without losing her much-valued feelings of affection. As Janie and Tea Cake spend time talking together, sharing activities together, and simply enjoying one another's company, Janie sees that Tea Cake, a younger man with no material wealth, knows, accepts, and values her as no one else has ever done.
Ironically, Tea Cake is the one man Janie marries who cannot materially "protect", her; in fact, it is Janie who provides for him. But by now, Janie knows that, contrary to what Nanny always suggested to her, who a man is, is more important than what he has. Only after Janie has loved and been loved by Tea Cake, despite Tea Cake's early death, does Janie begin to free herself, and indeed feel eager, to tell her friend Pheoby all that has happened since they last spoke. (n.p.) Tea Cake's love, acceptance, and understanding free Janie to reveal her selfhood, through unrestrained language, and with a mature, confident, authentic voice. Janie easily leaves her elevated position in the community to begin a new life with Tea Cake. Hurston implies that the pursuit of individual dreams can bring intellectual freedom, an enlightenment that is infinitely more valuable than material wealth. Despite obvious differences in age and social status Janie at last seems to have found true love.
Essentially, Tea Cake's love, acceptance, and understanding are what free Janie to at last reveal her selfhood, Janie's final horizon was self-preservation. While all her other horizons had been imaginary, reflecting her longing to grow up or to grow somehow 'bigger' than she thought she was, the decision to kill Tea Cake rather than let him kill her was the first adult act Janie performed. It was the final horizon, but it could not have been crossed at all if Janie had not grown up enough to protect herself. She must testify at her murder trial, and it is easy for her. Despite her painful loss and her pain at causing Tea Cake's death, her love for him is obvious and gains her an acquittal from an all-white jury of men. Janie, by then, is no longer a light-skinned, raven-haired beauty who would be attractive to them to account for their decision. Therefore, it must be her voice that secures her release. Janie sails through the trial. Moreover, she gives Tea Cake a truly extravagant burial, befitting for the agent that brought her to the final horizon she needed to find, herself.