Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay example

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Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God

In one way or another, every person has felt repressed at some stage during their lives. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about one woman's quest to free herself from repression and explore her own identity; this is the story of Janie Crawford and her journey for self-knowledge and fulfillment. Janie transforms many times as she undergoes the process of self-discovery as she changes through her experiences with three completely different men. Her marriages serve as stepping-stones in her search for her true self, and she becomes independent and powerful by overcoming her fears and learning to speak in her own, unique voice. Zora Neale Hurston effectively shows Janie's
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Janie's first movement toward self-awareness occurs shortly

thereafter, when she becomes fascinated by the blooming of leaf buds under

the pear tree. Here, Hurston uses the third-person narrative in a speaker's

voice that invites the reader into Janie's soul. For example, the narrative

voice portraying the "pear tree" incident seems to have a nature somewhat

intimate to Janie's:

the rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all

her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep. It connected itself with

other vaguely felt matters that had struck her outside observation and

buried themselves in her consciousness. (24).

Hurston brilliantly combines an intimate voice with the omniscience of a

third-person narrator for a vivid denotation of the beginning of Janie's

maturity and the initial stage in her development as a woman; she creates a

powerful description of a young girl's sexual awakening. However, just as

Janie is emerging as an individual and as a woman, her self-discovery is

crippled by Nanny's fear of this maturity. Nanny desires to marry Janie off

as soon as possible, so that she is protected in a financially
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