Contrasting Places in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

Contrasting Places in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Contrasting Places in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God


In the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, by Zora Neale Hurston there were many contrasting places that were used to represent opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of this work.

In the novel, Eatonville and the Everglades were two contrasting places. Eatonville, Florida was a place where Janie experienced many things in life. Janie Crawford grew here where her grandmother raised her. Eatonville was also a place where Janie had no freedom or choices. For example, Janie was forced into adulthood and love. Eatonville was the place of hurts, and insecurities to her. Eatonville was where Janie tried to find herself. She lived there for a long time but still did not find what she was looking for. The Everglades, often referred to as the Mucks, was where Janie now knew who she was and what she was looking for in life. It is where she had true love unlike in Eatonville, Florida. Eatonville was a place of trials, hurts, and pains but the Everglades were where Janie knew who she was as a person.

The Everglades and Eatonville both represent Janie in two different ways. In Eatonville Janie was uncertain of who she was. Eatonville represents unsure, love, hate, abuse, and trials. The Everglades represents love, joy, and prosperity. Janie was now seeing the person she was or is and living that life. Janie found herself in the Everglades. This was what she was trying to do throughout her entire life. She was searching although she came across stressing situations for her identity.

In this novel the two contrasting places shows Janie as being loss and shows Janie as being found. This novel stands on that theme. Sometimes one would be loss but the problem comes in when they are never found. In Eatonville there was love of force but in the Everglades there was love of choice. Janie was able to find the bee pollinating the flower. “So this was marriage”. The contrasting places examine true love.

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In conclusion, the two towns contrasted and contributed to the meaning of the work. Janie shifted to a new level when she went from Eatonville to the Everglades or the mucks. She finally found what she was looking for. It was not a man that she was looking for but she was looking for herself and she found that. When she found herself, she was now able to find love. She no longer had an identity crisis in Eatonville but self-identity and self-image in the Mucks.
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