Their Eyes Were Watching God Literary Analysis

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In Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, she presents the audience with a message of how women are treated like property. In the beginning of the book Janie, the main character, is forced into a marriage by her grandmother. Janie wanted to find love in that marriage but couldn't so she ranned off with a man named Joe Starks. She thought she loved Joe because he saved her from her previous marriage and was nice to her. Then one day, Joe physically abused Janie and she fell out of love with him. After Joe died, Janie finally found love with Tea Cake and he loved her back. Tea Cake died from a gunshot wound and it broke Janie's heart. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston uses literary devices to represent the theme which was how Janie was treated like property because she did not stand up for herself. Throughout the book, Zora uses the symbol of a pear tree to represent what Janie was going through. When Janie was first introduced in the book, she would always sit under a pear tree. Janie would sit under it and think about her life and what she wanted from it,“She was stretched out on her back beneath a pear tree soaking up the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting of the breeze when the audible voice of it all came to her...so this was marriage”(Hurston 11). The pear tree was a peaceful place for her. This represents how Janie thought marriage was supposed to feel good and how it made her feel at peace. Janie thought she felt that with Joe because he saved her from her previous marriage. She thought of him as her superhero. When she got married to her second husband, her view of marriage started to change. Her second husband was abusive and this made her question him and his idea of marriage. When Joe was treating her wrong she did started analyzing him, “The way Joe spoke without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another...took the bloom out of things”(Hurston 43). When Joe did give Janie a chance to speak, she didn't speak up for herself. She felt mad at him and it made her rethink the meaning of marriage to her. This connects to the pear tree because when the blossoms fell off the tree, it represents how some of Janie's expectations of
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