Their Eyes Were Watching God Literary Analysis

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“They carried the common secret of cowardice barely restrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all” (O’Brien 20). Both Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien are considered classic fictional novels of American literature. While Their Eyes Were Watching God centers around Janie Crawford’s journey as she matures and finds true love, The Things They Carried focuses on the strenuous lives of soldiers during the harsh conditions of the Vietnam War. Although both stories concentrate on much different topics, both Hurston and O’Brien demonstrate the theme that society’s traditional beliefs of men as the dominant sex can quickly be compromised at any indication of weakness. Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, society’s opinion of “masculinity” is shown through Logan Killicks and Joe Starks. At a young age, Janie is forced to marry Logan and work on his farm, even though she does not love him. Eventually, Janie refuses to do any more work, because she does not think it is her responsibility. As a result, Logan remarks, “You ain’t got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh” (Hurston 31). This scene between the two proves that men are expected to assert their dominance over women to seem more powerful. Logan practically believes that Janie’s self-worth is only significant when he needs her. Furthermore, Joe Starks, Janie’s second husband, attempts to
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