Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Decent Essays

In 1937, Zora Neale Hurston spent seven weeks in Haiti writing what would become her most well-known and acknowledged piece of work. Their Eyes Were Watching God was born on September 18th, 1937, in New York. The novel told a hopeful tale of a woman finding a secure sense of independence and identity in the 1920s. Janie Mae Crawford is the protagonist of the novel. She knows family only in the form of her grandmother, who she refers to as Nanny. Each relationship that Janie is involved in blooms and withers away like the pear tree that symbolizes Janie's life. Janie's grandmother, Nanny, is the first bud on her tree. Nanny raised Janie since she was a little girl. Her grandmother is like a gardener, pruning and shaping the future for her granddaughter. When Nanny sees Janie kissing a boy for the first time, the narrator says "Nanny's head and face looked like the standing roots of some tree that had been torn away by storm. Foundation of ancient power that no longer mattered" (12). Nanny tries to instill a strong sense of marriage into Janie because she believes that marriage is the only way that Janie will survive the harsh world. After Janie marries Logan, she goes to see Nanny about advice. She tells her grandmother "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think" (24). Nanny is so blinded by being the victim of the horrible effects of slavery, that she does not realize that Janie actually has the potential achieve her own life

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