Powerful Symbols in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Powerful Symbols in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

In 1937, upon the first publication of Their Eyes Were Watching God, the most influential black writer of his time, Richard Wright, stated that the novel "carries no theme, no message, [and] no thought." Wright's powerful critique epitomized a nation's attitude toward Zora Neale Hurston's second novel. African-American critics read a book that they felt satisfied the "white man's" stereotype of African-American culture and the humor which Caucasians saw in that prejudice. However, those critics and most of America overlooked the wonderful use of imagery, symbolism, and thematic application of one African-American female's journey into womanhood and
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She apparently understands and appreciates the fertilization and procreation in nature and the beauty of the process. Immediately following this episode, Janie fulfills her sexual urge by kissing Johnny Taylor over the fence. Nanny catches Janie in the act and forces Janie into womanhood by arranging her marriage to unattractive landowner Logan Killicks.

Throughout the entire novel, Janie refers to the blossoming pear tree as a symbol of her ideal relationship, and compares her husbands to the harmony she witnessed between the bees and the blossoms of the pear tree. Janie sees the vision of Logan to be ìdesecrating the pear tree,î as she does not love the man at all (13). On the contrary, she finds her true love in her marriage to Tea Cake, who ìcould be a bee to a blossom Ö Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he tookî (102). As the pear tree is symbolic of Janie's sexual epiphany and her ideal relationship, it also coincides with her quest for her true love. Her pear blossom wilts with her marriage to Logan Killicks, but it blooms again in another cycle with Tea Cake.

Moreover, the reappearance of a gate prior to a critical life change is also symbolic to Janie's quest for self-identity. In general, gates tend to be associated with new steps or episodes of life, and in Their Eyes Were Watching God Hurston often has Janie
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