Symbolism in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay example

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In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, she utilizes an array of symbolism such as color, the store, and her husbands to solidify the overall theme of independence and individuality. Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered by many a classic American Feminist piece that emphasizes how life was for African Americans post slave era in the early 1900s. One source summarizes the story as, 1 ”a woman's quest for fulfillment and liberation in a society where women are objects to be used for physical work and pleasure.” Which is why the overall theme is concurrent to independence and self. The first way the author uses symbolism to show the overall theme is with color. Numerous times in the novel Janie is wearing a…show more content…
The kind of premenading white tat the houses of Bishop Whipple, W.B. Jackson, and Vanderpool's wore.” (pg.47) In this instance, Hurston is showing that white is prominent. With the whites still being more “superior” than blacks in this era (1900s), this choice of color shows power. With the town still needing a new mayor or leader, the white showed that Jody can eventually preside over the town with his leadership skills. Shortly after, Jody is indeed chosen as the mayor. The main point connecting white to the theme is when it is used after Jody's death. After Jody's death the only color Janie wears for the next six months is black. Black is used in her attire in this context to show that her mien is indicative of being sad, in mourning, dark, or that Janie is unavailable for future suitors. However, when she does feel ready to move on from Jody's death she wears white. White in this instance shows the other men that she is available. “When Janie emerged into her mourning white, she had hosts of admirers in and out of town.” (pg. 92) This is how the colors white, black, and blue are used by Hurston to show Janie's gradual independence and individuality. Hurston uses small symbols such as the store to display how Janie has gained some independence. After Janie marries Joe they open up a store together. Being the only general store in the town they experience a lot of customers. Often Janie is found managing
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