Illustrative Interactionism In Their Eyes Were Watching God

957 Words4 Pages
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God, the story of a protagonist, Janie, trying to find love, reach self-fulfillment and define her identity is told. On this physical and emotional journey, symbols are effectively used to develop themes. Most prevalently, the symbols of Janie’s hair and the horizon establish the theme that true love preserves the identity of both unified individuals. Huston skillfully displays illustrative interactionism as a means to develop symbols, such as Janie’s hair, in the novel. The thematic ideas of power and identity are depicted through Janie’s hair; her hair demonstrates how she is unchanged by other people’s opinions and how she is unapologetic about her identity. To the community, older women like Janie should not wear their hair down, but Janie still continues to keep her hair-style. Within the porch community, sentiments against Janie’s appearance are expressed; one of the individuals on the porch remarked “What dat ole forty year ole’ oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal” (Huston 2). In this scene, both the social disliking of Janie’s appearance and the porch’s pursuit of stripping Janie of her identity is depicted. This is because of the porch’s bashing of Janie’s hair. Janie seeks to interact with communities, such as the porch community, in both Eatonville and the Everglades, because she feels a sense of comfort and acceptance during these interactions. She believes in an atmosphere of love

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