Their Eyes Were Watching God Analysis

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Janie and Celie: Two Diverging Stories The South in the early 1900s is known for it's racist views and also it's strict gender roles. Growing up in the South as an African American woman would come with many hardships. This is demonstrated through Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and her portrayal of the protagonist Janie Crawford. Janie deals with all kinds of abuse and faces many challenges in her search for true love. Much like Janie, another lead character, from Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, Celie Johnson faces many problems in the South. Unlike Janie, Celie desires different things in her life and is perceived by people very differently, even though they both share many of …show more content…

Janie was seen as a beautiful woman and was respected by people because she often had some power or money, even though she was accused of classing off. Celie on the other hand was almost always considered ugly and people treated her poorly and generally like a servant. Other people’s perception of Janie is captured by this early quote in Their Eyes Were Watching God: The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her hip pockets; the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume; then her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt. They, the men, were saving with the mind what they lost with the eye. (2) Men throughout Janie’s life consistently viewed her like this, which is a sharp contrast to the way Celie is usually viewed. One of the most blunt quotes about Celie in The Color Purple came from Shug Avery when she said, “You Sho’ is ugly!” (imdb). Both of these quotes from their respective stories show a drastic difference in the way the characters are perceived by others around them. This physical differences lead to diverging paths in the character's stories, Janie has trouble finding someone who actually loves her because almost everyone she meets is attracted to her. Celie is often left feeling useless because Albert makes sure she knows she's unattractive and even makes it clear that he prefers Celie’s sister

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