The Different Places in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Different Places in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God

It’s amazing that one state can have within it places that differ greatly in all aspects—people, surrounding, weather, and feeling. Zora Neale Hurston exemplifies this phenomenon in Their Eyes Were Watching God. There are a multitude of differences between Eatonville, FL and the Everglades; each place represents a certain theme or feeling to Janie (the main character) and their differences each contribute to the meaning of the novel as a whole.

Eatonville is just hours away from the Everglades so it seems that these two places must have something in common, especially if they’re in the same book, but they don’t unless you count Janie living in both places as
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This social difference is a big change, but Janie’s happier in the ‘Glades when she’s “poorer” and working harder.

With all the differences in mind, Eatonville and the Everglades each represent something as it pertains to Janie. Eatonville represents oppression and stability. Joe stifles Janie’s sense of self and doesn’t allow her to express who she really is. He doesn’t let her speak to others and makes her take care of the general store even though she doesn’t want to. Although Janie doesn’t really enjoy being in Eatonville, it is a stable point in her life. She has plenty of money, a job, and a lovely house. This place is so stable that even after Tea Cake dies, Janie returns to Eatonville to her old house. On the other hand, the Everglades represent discovery and love. It’s in the ‘Glades that Janie discovers her true self, working on the muck wearing overalls. She’s happy there and enjoys what she does. Love is also important. Janie finally finds true love with Tea Cake and they enjoy their like together while it lasts. The mutual love relationship and still being able to be herself was what Janie was looking for.

The differences of these two places help to understand and feel the book better. Because the places are different, it’s easier to see the change that Janie goes through. With Eatonville and the ‘Glades representing different things and being
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