Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston: An Analysis

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Throughout the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, there is an ongoing story of how Janie, the main character, grows up and deals with the many challenges life throws at her in her quest for her “Horizons”. A horizon is a metaphor for one’s ambitions, hopes and dreams. To be truly happy, one must conceive their own horizons, explore them and embrace them. Janie’s “horizons” evolve throughout the novel, starting as limited and socially determined, moving towards being expansive, individualized, and fully realized.
At the beginning of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is not knowledgeable about the world because her ambitions are determined by others. This causes her to be stuck with paltry horizons although, she still
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In this part of the book, as soon as Janie reaches one horizon, she is already looking towards her next ambition to chase. This is evident when Janie was first seeing Joe. “He (Joe Starks) did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for a far horizon.” (Hurston, 28) It is evident that Janie eventually decided that these far horizons were in fact what she wanted, as she married Joe Starks. Another spot in the book that symbolically highlights the ever-morphing nature of Janie’s ambitions was the scene that occurs right after Tea Cake leaves Janie for the night.. “He (Tea Cake) tipped his hat at the door and was off with the briefest good night. So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.” (Hurston, 95) Zora Neale Hurston’s quote “Thirst of the day” is symbolic of Janie’s consistent thirst to move on to something new and greater. The moon represents a horizon because it is a far off light, quenching this thirst. This quote was not thrown coincidentally into Their Eyes Were Watching God, it was intentionally crafted as yet another way to hint the reader into Janie’s constantly moving horizons. This period of ever-expanding horizons in the middle of the book comes to an end after the Janie shoots and kills Tea
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