Feminism and gender equality is one of the most important issues of society today, and the debate dates back much farther than Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. To analyze Janie’s existence as a feminist or anti-feminist character requires a potential critic to look at her relationships and her reactions to those relationships throughout the novel. Trudier Harris claims that Janie is “questing after a kind of worship.” This statement is accurate only up until a certain point in her life, until Janie’s “quest” becomes her seeking equality with her partner. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s main goal pertaining to her romantic relationships undergoes multiple changes from her original goal of a type of worship to a goal to maintain an equal relationship with her husband.
To begin with, Janie’s first marriage is to Logan Killicks. She meets him through her grandmother and is basically forced to marry him. In the novel, Janie complains to her grandmother “Cause you [Grandmother] told me Ah mus gointer love him,and, and Ah don’t” (Their Eyes were Watching God 23). This quote demonstrates how Janie feels throughout her marriage to Logan. He treats her like a labor mule and complains that she is too lazy to do anything. From her first marriage, she learns that she has to be with a man she
In Zora Neale Hurston’s romantic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the heroine Janie, a beautiful mixed white and black woman, is on a journey to find someone who will make her feel love to find her own identity and freedom, away from her spouses. Janie’s marriages and quest for love impede her individual search for freedom, but in doing this she has discovered what exactly she wants for herself. Janie’s search for her identity and freedom is very much evident. Being abused and controlled during her marriages has made it clear how she wants to be treated and how she wants to live her life; as an individual who does not have to listen to anyone. The story opens with Janie’s return to town. Janie tells Phoebe Watson the story of her
Love can be perceived as the feeling one feels under the sweetness of a blossoming pear tree, but through an unexpected path, such loving feelings are demolished.When an individual wants the perfect relationship such desires are forsaken by their way of life.Many individuals want to reach the "Horizon" where is not completely seen by the human eye but exists.In the novel "Their eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston", protagonist Janie Crawford seeks for that "horizon" through her relationship with logan, Joe and tea cake.Just like the "horizon" love wasn 't attained during her relationship with logan and joe but that love existed in her relationship with Tea cake.
In this global era of evolving civilization, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the fascinating fact about love. Love is a feeling of intimacy, warmth, and attachment. Love is inevitable and it plays a vital role in human life as Janie uses her experience with the pear tree to compare each of her relationships, but it is not until Tea Cake that she finds “a bee to her bloom.” (106).
In the late nineteenth century, the New Woman time period emerged after World War I. Women began to cast away the domestic stereotypes and they became “independent [women] who [sought] achievement and self-fulfillment beyond the realm of marriage and family” (Miller 1). Straying away from the typical image of women staying and maintaining the home, women started attending universities, receiving professional jobs, and becoming involved in politics (1). The transition of women from the domestic sphere to the public sphere is a notion Zora Neale Hurston uses in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston’s use of dominant characters in society reveals her theme that experiences and relationships are the roots of finding independence and identity despite the obscurity caused by sexism.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their eyes were watching God the main character Janie is on a quest for self-fulfillment. Of Janie’s three marriages, Logan and Joe provide her with a sense of security and status. However, only her union with Teacake flourishes into true love.
Throughout life, everybody makes sacrifices that may become more beneficial to him or in ways they could not foresee. A sacrifice may be simply giving up an object or giving up something deeper in meaning. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a prime example of a book that reflects this theme. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the main character, Janie, struggles to figure out her identity and what she desires in life. As she matures in her relationships and in life, she learns to make sacrifices in order to seek what she really needs. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston illuminates Janie’s values and the text’s emphasis on self-actualization is demonstrated through Janie leaving stability with Logan to marry Joe,
At the same time, however, Janie begins to confuse this desire with romance. Despite the fact that nature’s “love embrace” leaves her feeling “limp and languid,” she pursues the first thing she sees that appears to satisfy her desire: a young man named Johnny Taylor (Hurston 11). Leaning over the gate’s threshold to kiss Johnny, Janie takes the first step toward her newfound horizon. Nanny sees this kiss and declares Janie’s womanhood. She wants Janie to marry Logan Killicks, a financially secure and well-respected farmer who can protect her from corruption. The marriage of convenience that Nanny suggests is “desecrating … [Janie’s] pear tree” because it contradicts her ideal vision of love (Hurston 14). Because she did not have the strength to fight people in her youth, Janie’s grandmother believes that Janie needs to rely on a husband in order to stay safe and reach liberation. Ironically, Janie’s adherence to Nanny’s last request suppresses her even more because it causes her to leave behind her own horizon.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, the reader is given a particular glimpse into Janie's life with reference to the men she has known. Janie's three men are all very different, yet they were all Janie's husband at one point in her life. Although they all behaved differently, in lifestyle as well as their relationship with Janie, they all shared certain similarities.
The marriage is unsatisfying and lonely for Janie. Janie “...knew things that nobody had ever told her...the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, ‘Ah hope you fall on soft ground,’” (25). She spoke and connected with nature because she was still searching for the kind of love she had witnessed when laying under the pear tree when she was younger. After a big fight with Logan, Janie meets a man named Jody Starks who is charming and charismatic. He is extremely intelligent and Janie leaves Logan for him because even though “he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees...he spoke for far horizon. He spoke for change and chance." (28). Janie has not been able to find herself in her marriage with Logan because there was no real connection, she hopes to find love resembling the pear tree with Jody. Unfortunately Janie’s dreams of finding love with Jody fall flat. Jody is controlling and restricts Janie from expressing herself and he further isolates her from society.
Nanny makes Janie believe that marriage makes love and forces her to wed a much older man, Logan Killicks. Jones believes that Janie?s first efforts at marriage show her as an ?enslaved and semi-literate? figure restrained to Nanny?s traditional beliefs about money, happiness and love (372). Unfortunately Janie?s dream of escasty does not involve Killicks. Her first dream is dead. Janie utters, ?Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think? (Hurston 23). Logan began to slap Janie for control over
In order for an individual to effectively rebel against an established society, he or she must maintain some degree of power. If leaders or majority groups intend to revolt against an aspect of society, they simply speak or act against their issue. A member of marginalized group does not have the liberty of rebelling so directly, as he or she would be immediately isolated. In addition, taking a stand through an unappreciated aspect of one’s status in society would be futile. Therefore, an individual must find his or her value to society and utilize it as their method for rebellion. This is exemplified in both Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, as women rebel against society without using their voices. The main characters, Janie and Hester, defy gender roles through external appearances, maintaining silence, and accepting sexuality. Both Hawthorne and Hurston reveal society’s value of women’s external persona through female characters’ nonverbal rebellion.
Throughout history, the aspiration to accomplish one’s dreams and gain self-fulfillment has been and continues to be prevalent. Consequently, one’s reactions to the obstacles propelled at them may define how they will move forward in search of achieving their goals. Reaching one’s full potential is certainly not an easy conquest. Zora Neale Hurston, an especially noteworthy African American author, uses her astounding piece of literature, Their Eyes Were Watching God, to illuminate the path to discovering what is truly valuable in life. She uses the character, Janie Woods, who endures some of the greatest hardship imagined to elucidate the ways in which hindrance, although discouraging, only makes one stronger. Accordingly, Hurston argues
In the society and world we live in we all want to be accepted and feel like we belong. Zora Neale Hurston goes through trials and tribulations as being a twenty-century African American such as slavery and feeling like she belongs. Imagine every time you think you are finally happy with whom you are and it turns out that wasn’t the case. In Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie embarks on journey in search for her own identity where each of her three husbands plays an important role in her discovery of who she is.