Essay on Freedom in Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Spirit of Freedom in The Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God


Freedom takes many different forms. There is personal freedom, societal freedom, mental freedom, and physical freedom. Freedom is not tangible, but may be achieved through many experiences. Different aspects of freedom are apparent in both The Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God. In The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, the freedom moves from the outside into Celie and then out again. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, the freedom stems from within Janie but is prompted by certain outside forces. Both women experience freedom, and the freedom grows from within and is radiated outward.

     In The Color
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She begins to deviate from her one-track mind: love, hate, survive, and starts to think freely. "After all the evil he done I... wonder why I don't hate him" (Walker p.267).

The last source of Celie's freedom came from Nettie. Nettie represented the last link in the chain of subjugation. Since Nettie was the "only person love [her] in the world" (Walker p.207), her absence made Celie's heart ache. When Nettie returned, Celie's heart opened and she was able to be free in love. Nettie broke the chain and Celie's heart and mind were totally free. Freedom can often be housed within a person. It just needs an event or person to jump-start it and to launch the person on his or her path to freedom.

     Janie is oppressed throughout her journey. She is held down by her grandmother, and by her first husband, Logan. But her free-spirit stirs and she breaks free, becoming a pear tree in the wind. The quest for freedom for Janie begins with the arrival of Joe Starks. As Janie says "He spoke for far horizon. He spoke for change and chance" (Hurston p.28).

     But the freedom with Joe was not absolute. Janie was again a prisoner as Joe sheltered her and made her feel different from the rest of society. With Joe's death Janie was again free. She was able to grow, blossom, change, and become mentally free. She ceased to care what society and people thought of her.

     Tea Cake represented another

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