Three Features of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

Three Features of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

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Every novel has a protagonist and an antagonist of the story. There has to be a "good guy" and "bad guy" in order for there to be some sort of an interesting plot. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, my most and least favorite characters happen to be the protagonist, Janie, and the antagonist, Jody Starks. There are many things that symbolize these characters that are both comparable and contradictory of my personality. Symbols, objects or characters that are used to represent abstract ideas or concepts, play a major role in this novel. Janie is represented by her hair and Jody by his power, wealth and status of the town. Janie Jody and the symbolic representations are the three most appealing fundamentals of the story.

Janie is an exceptionally interesting person. She is still developing and does not know exactly what she wants at her point in life. She is still exploring her world and who she wants to be. I am at that same point in my life so it is easy for me to relate to her and understand what she is going through. I have countless opportunities but am unsure of which prospect will fulfill my life in the future. Janie is in the same position and is doing what she has to do to find out what will implement her life best. She is uncertain how she would like to live her life or even what she wants in her life. There is only one thing she is positive she wants to encompass in her life, which is true love.

Jody Starks on the other hand knows what he wants, which is the only thing I admire about him. It is the way he treats people while he is going after his aspirations that make him the protagonist of the story. Jody is very inconsiderate of other people. He fails to show Janie any love and affection, which is what she truly wants. He is merely worried about gaining more power and becoming wealthier. Jody is an intelligent individual and knows which people to talk to at the right time and how to keep them pleased. He knows how to read people and tell them what they want to hear.

The way Hurston brings symbols into the story makes it much more attention-grabbing.

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She does not make them challenging to find like some other novels I have read. For example, Janie's hair is mentioned numerous times just in the beginning of the book. In the beginning of the story, one of the first things mentioned was about Janie's hair; "the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume" (Hurston 2). It almost seems as if her hair represents the strengths of Janie. When Jody advises Janie to put her hair up in a rag, she does not talk back or speak her mind the way she did with Logan Killicks, her first husband, when her hair was down. Power symbolizes Jody because he tries to control everyone and everything around him to maintain this false impression of overpowering the town. He is fixated with his ideas of power. When Janie eventually brings down his secure sense of his own power, she ruins his character and will to live.

Janie is my most favorable character and I think that was Hurston's intentions for the reader while she was writing the book. Janie's life and the choices she has to make relates to my life which makes the story more enjoyable to read. Jody is my least favorite character because he married Janie as an object that he thought would help him, not because he really loved her. Also, the symbolism in the story made it more exciting to read, because everything in the novel has both literal and hidden meanings.

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