Use of Metaphors in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston

2926 Words12 Pages
Zora Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God follows protagonist Janie Mae Crawford’s journey into womanhood and her ultimate quest for self-discovery. Having to abruptly transition from childhood to adulthood at the age of sixteen, the story demonstrates Janie’s eternal struggle to find her own voice and realize her dreams through three marriages and a lifetime of hardships that come about from being a black woman in America in the early 20th century. Throughout the novel, Hurston uses powerful metaphors helping to “unify” (as Henry Louis Gates Jr. puts it) the novel’s themes and narrative; thus providing a greater understanding of Janie’s quest for selfhood. There are three significant metaphors in the novel that achieve this unity: the…show more content…
With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and busting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her. Where were the singing bees for her? Nothing on the place nor in her grandma’s house answered her. (11) This quote demonstrates that the pear tree marks end of Janie’s childhood and the beginning of her journey to womanhood; as it is under the pear tree in which Janie has her first sexual experience as she longs to have the “love and affection from a man that the tree receives from the pollen-bearing bee” (Dilbeck, 102). When Nanny (Janie’s grandmother) sees her act on this sexual awakening by kissing Johnny Taylor, the narrator states that it was “the end of her childhood” (12), as Nanny then insists that she get married to Logan Killicks, and so Janie must quickly move into adult world of marriage. The quote also seems to assert that the only way for Janie to embark on her journey is to leave home (one of the major characteristics of the quest narrative) as “nothing on the place nor her grandma’s house answered her” (11). This tree imagery continues on throughout the text, representing her feelings within her
Open Document