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. All these Gods represent a need for something to believe in and work for: an ideal, which they wish to achieve, to aspire to. Each individual character is thus
By some tragic circumstance, Janie finds that she must kill Tea Cake before he kills her. When she is put on trial, she chooses not to speak, demonstrating that she found a way to control her voice, thereby asserting her independent womanhood, by the end of the novel. That may have been Hurston’s political message: that women should not be treated as “de mules uh de
It’s amazing that one state can have within it places that differ greatly in all aspects—people, surrounding, weather, and feeling. Zora Neale Hurston exemplifies this phenomenon in Their Eyes Were Watching God. There are a multitude of differences between Eatonville, FL and the Everglades; each place represents a certain theme or feeling to Janie (the main character) and their differences each contribute to the meaning of the novel as a whole.
In the late nineteenth century, the New Woman time period emerged after World War I. Women began to cast away the domestic stereotypes and they became “independent [women] who [sought] achievement and self-fulfillment beyond the realm of marriage and family” (Miller 1). Straying away from the typical image of women staying and maintaining the home, women started attending universities, receiving professional jobs, and becoming involved in politics (1). The transition of women from the domestic sphere to the public sphere is a notion Zora Neale Hurston uses in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston’s use of dominant characters in society reveals her theme that experiences and relationships are the roots of finding independence and identity despite the obscurity caused by sexism.
The struggle for women to have their own voice has been an ongoing battle. However, the struggle for African American women to have their own voice and independence has been an ongoing conflict. In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie struggles a majority of her life discovering her own voice by challenging many traditional roles that are set by society during this time. Hongzhi Wu, the author of “Mules and Women: Identify and Rebel—Janie’s Identity Quest in ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God,’” recognizes the trend of African American women being suppressed by making a comparison between animals throughout the novel and Janie. Wu argues that there are ultimately two depictions of the mule that the reader remembers and compares both of these interpretations to Janie’s transformation throughout the novel. While Wu’s argument is sound in the fact that it recognizes certain stereotypes African American women faced during this time, Wu fails to recognize Janie’s sexuality in depth as her major push away from the animalistic pressures she has faced.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, describe the various experiences Janie Crawford had with her marriages. However, this book is not about searching for the right men, but for finding herself and be independent. On her second marriage to Joe Starks, who is distrustful and possessive, doesn’t bear to see other men touch or contemplate Janie’s hair. This relationship demonstrates the domination of man because Joe controls Janie, from behaving as the Mayor’s wife to using a kerchief. Janie is a submissive woman, but as soon she finds the opportunity she confronts her husband. Therefore, the action of taking out the kerchief was symbolic because she reveals herself to the society and by letting her hair down she showed her freedom and beauty.
Throughout the Novel Janie struggles with handling the opinions of others and allowing them to affect how she sees herself. For instance Hurston writes “some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships. Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon- for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you- and pinched it into such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter’s neck tight enough to choke her” (Hurston 89). Here Hurston demonstrates that others will always see things differently from one's perspective and Janie’s ongoing internal conflict with doing what would make her happy or doing what will satisfy those around her. However at the end of the novel Janie ultimately departs from the beliefs of others and displays self empowerment by disregarding the opinions of others over her actions. Similarly Hurston states “so she was free and the judge and everybody up there smiled with her and shook her hand. And the white women cried and stood around her like a protecting wall”(Hurston 188). This quote from the novel indicates that Janie displays self empowerment throughout the course of the novel and individual progress. This quote also shows the ideal of equality because although Janie is mixed she has always made her African
In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their eyes were watching God the main character Janie is on a quest for self-fulfillment. Of Janie’s three marriages, Logan and Joe provide her with a sense of security and status. However, only her union with Teacake flourishes into true love.
In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, a young woman travels through difficult life experiences in order to find herself. Hurston portrays the protagonist as an adventurous soul trapped in the binds of suppressing marriages. Janie experiences three different types of marriage learning from each one what she values most. From these marriages she learned she values love and respect, finally achieving them in her last marriage. Each new marriage brought something new to the table for Janie and no matter the situation or the outcome of the relationship Janie grew into her own independent individual because of it.
“’…but she don’t seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.’” A woman’s search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
We live in the year 2017, yet we still see a major gap in the treatment and outlooks towards men and women. This however is not a newly implemented construct but has been prevalent since the beginning of time, as demonstrated in the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. In this novel we see many examples in which the protagonist of the novel, Janie, is shamed and outcasted due to her identity and actions. Janie in many ways experiences racism, sexism, and stereotyping in which corresponds and propezies the treatment of women in the 21st century.
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). She does this by approaching each surrogate parental figure as one would go to God, the Father; she offers her faith and obedience to them and receives their definitions of
In both Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat” and novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the focus is on women who want better lives but face difficult struggles before gaining them. The difficulties involving men which Janie and Delia incur result from or are exacerbated by the intersection of their class, race, and gender, which restrict each woman for a large part of her life from gaining her independence.
Brutal beatings that resulted in bruises, broken bones, and even death. Rape that haunted women until their last breath. Being caged and unable to go “tuh de horizon and back”. These are all things that Zora Neale Hurston tried to combat when composing Their Eyes Were Watching God. Through her novel, she tries to show the American people that women can choose the roles that they long for. In all, women have the right to pursue their desires.
Their Eyes Were Watching God was a book that presented the world with a new look on writing novels. Zora Neale Hurston’s experience in what she has seen through research was embodies in this novel. She demonstrates what data she has collected and intertwined it into the culture within the novel. While being a folklorist/anthropologist, and inspired by her life experiences, she developed a character who dealt with the issues that were not yet uncovered, female empowerment was one of them. Zora Neale Hurston defined this topic of female empowerment throughout the character Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God.