Comparing the Role of Women in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Go Tell It On the Mountain

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The Role of Women in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Go Tell It On the Mountain

Historically, the job of women in society is to care for the husband, the home, and the children. As a homemaker, it has been up to the woman to support the husband and care for the house; as a mother, the role was to care for the children and pass along cultural traditions and values to the children. These roles are no different in the African-American community, except for the fact that they are magnified to even larger proportions. The image of the mother in African-American culture is one of guidance, love, and wisdom; quite often the mother is the shaping and driving force of African-American children. This is reflected in the literature of the
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Janie's grandmother was one of the most important influences in her life, raising her since from an infant and passing on her dreams to Janie. Janie's mother ran away from home soon after Janie was born. With her father also gone, the task of raising Janie fell to her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny tells Janie "Fact uh de matter, Ah loves yuh a whole heap more'n Ah do yo' mama, de one Ah did birth" (Hurston 31). Nanny's dream is for Janie to attain a position of security in society, "high ground" as she puts it (32). As the person who raised her, Nanny feels that it is both her right and obligation to impose her dreams and her ideas of what is important in life on Janie. The strong relationship between mother and child is important in the African-American community, and the conflict between Janie's idyllic view of marriage and Nanny's wish for her to marry for stability and position is a good illustration of just how deep the respect and trust runs. Janie has a very romantic notion of what marriage should be. "She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace . . . so this was a marriage," is how the narrator describes it (24). Nanny's idea of a good marriage is someone who has some standing in the community, someone who will get Janie to that higher ground. Nanny wants Janie to marry Logan Killicks, but according to her "he look like some ole
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