Nature’s Influence on Janie’s Desire in Their Eyes Were Watching God

As children we often cling to the storybook romance. The “happily ever after” cliché certainly appeals to the young romantic: however, the harsh reality of life may soon prove this to be foolishly sentimental. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston explores these circumstances as she outlines Janie’s pursuit of happiness. Janie is described as a child of nature. The spiritual power of nature has a tremendous affect on the development of her character. Hurston uses this metaphor to symbolize Janie’s eagerness to find love.

Though as a child she craved a conventional romance, nature guides her to her one true love. Before meeting the man of her dreams, Janie experiences many failed relationships that highlight the changes in her desires. Throughout the novel, Janie is influenced by natural forces that alter these desires in her relationships with Johnny Taylor, Logan Killicks, and Joe Starks.

On a spring day in West Florida, Janie spent the afternoon lying under a pear tree.

The delicate serenity of nature filled her with sheer contentment and delight. In a dream like state, “through the pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road” that in “her former blindness she had known as shiftless Johnny Taylor” (11). Janie’s romantic visions are reflected by springtime. At sixteen years old, Janie, herself, was blooming into a woman. In a trance, Johnny Taylor became the target of her infatuation. Nature’s power of suggestion was able to “[beglamore] his rags and her eyes” (12). Just as Johnny Taylor kisses her, Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, wakes from her nap and catches the two under the pear tree. In desperation, Nanny has Janie married off to a wealthy farmer, Logan Killicks, and in an instant Janie’s carefree fantasies come to an end.

Logan Killicks embodies all the qualities that Janie detests. Though she cannot seem to find nature’s beauty within him, Janie agrees to marry Logan to appease her grandmother. Her naivety is made apparent when she assumes that “marriage compel[s] love” and that happiness would follow (21). Logan initially treats Janie with great care, but Nanny warns her that his display of affection would be short-lived. Janie soon becomes concerned that she will not been able to love her husband. She romanticizes marriage and longs for some kind of natural attraction. When Janie realizes that she would never love her husband her “first dream was dead, [and] so she became a woman” (25). As their marriage deteriorates, Janie notices that their relationship dynamic has changed. As Nanny predicted, Logan no longer treats her with the kind of respect that he once did. Their loveless marriage turns strained and unpleasant as Logan strips Janie of her free will, forcing her to work as a field hand. When Logan leaves town, Janie catches the attention of a passerby, Joe Starks. Joe strikes Janie as a man with ambition; his youthful energy and conviction remind Janie of her own independent nature. Joe seeks to establish an all black city in which he could voice his opinion. Their budding relationship appeals to Janie’s romantic visions of love and her thirst for adventure. When Logan returns, Janie decides to take her life into her own hands and runs off with Joe.

She hopes that “from now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything” however; she would soon discover that these childlike desires did not produce the love she so craved (32). Janie is initially quite taken with Joe’s physical beauty. Unlike Logan, she is proud to have him by her side. When the newly married couple arrives in Green Cove Springs, they find themselves in an underdeveloped town. Joe goes to work building a community from the ground up by purchasing two hundred acres of land, establishing the town’s first store and post office, and installing the very first lamppost. Eatonville, as Starks later named it, matures into a booming town. As the Mayor, landlord, postmaster, and storeowner, Starks adopted many responsibilities that took a toll on his marriage. In order to promote and protect his distinguished position in the community, he persuades Janie to maintain a high-class status that contrasted her free-spirited nature. Janie fears that this bureaucratic relationship would ruin their marriage. As Joe became consumed with his work, “ a feeling of coldness and fear took hold of [Janie].

She fe[els] far away from things and lonely” (46). Though he continues to provide for her, Joe discourages her desire to become a part of the town. Joe considers Janie inferior and believes she cannot think for herself. Janie resents his authoritarian manner and tries to resist however, Joe continues to suppress her independent nature. Having grown weary of the constant power struggle, Janie eventually surrenders her personal freedom and comes to realize that Joe never was the man of her dreams. Janie could no longer see the “blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man” and yearns to rediscover the passion they so desperately lacked. (72). Having grown weary from exhaustion, Joe falls sick. Renewed with purpose, Janie confronts Joe and blames him for robbing her of her freedom.

Gender Roles in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

During the 1900’s, women, specifically black women, were considered to be property of men in the United States, especially down south, in states such as Florida and Georgia. Legally, women had no voice. For example, if a woman was abused by her husband, the court system would not acknowledge it even if it did really happen. In the article “Sexism in the Early 1900’s”, Becca Woltemath states that “…a woman’s job is to take care of the house and to bear children.

She’s no good for anything else. She’s just a simple thinker.” Women were forced into submission and there was nothing they could do about it. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston shows the issue of gender roles through the story of a young woman named Janie, who struggles through an arranged marriage. Through multiple characters, as well as the plot, sexism comes to the surface.

As soon as the novel begins, it is evident the roles of men and women play a very big part in this novel: “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.

For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever…Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget” (Hurston 1). In this opening paragraph of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston compares the wishes and dreams of men and women in a particularly interesting way.

By using the sea as a symbol, she is saying that men can never really control their dreams, just wait for them to come true. While women on the other hand, can take their dreams into their own hands, molding them as they see fit. Making this comparison establishes the theme of gender difference throughout the novel, and ultimately foreshadows the fact that Janie is going to struggle, yet will stop at nothing to achieve what she sets her mind to.

After first setting the tone, Nanny is introduced. Her traditional values of womanly roles such as cooking and cleaning lead us to believe that Janie will be the same way. But when Janie kisses Johnny Taylor, her view of men changes after seeing “a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation” (Hurston 11).

This paragraph is one of the most important, if not the most, in the whole book. Comparing love to the relationship between a bee and its flower, Janie suddenly craves, love, passion, and above all, someone she can consider her equal. Unfortunately, though, equality was a foreign concept during this time period. Men were seen as “all-powerful”, considered the sole providers and the only ones allowed to hold any sort of office or high-status job.

Women, on the other hand, were the complete opposite. In an article written by Dorothy W. Hartman, a historian, she states: Women’s God-given role, it stated, was as wife and mother, keeper of the household “Women’s God-given role, it stated, was as wife and mother, keeper of the household…” Many people, including blacks, believed in this sort of household: the men being on top, with the women considered far inferior.

In Janie’s first relationship, it is clear this is not the equality she has hoped for. Logan Killicks- an elderly, black man her grandmother has arranged for her to marry- treats Janie like a servant and not like a wife at all. There is no love present, and every day is a chore.

Even though Nanny knows Janie is not happy, she insists the marriage is a good one: “’Heah yo is wid de onliest organ in town, amonst colored folks, in yo’ parlow. Got a house bought and paid for and sixty acres uh land right on de big road…Lawd have mussy! Dat’s de very prong all us black women gits hung on’” (Hurston 23).

In Nanny’s speech, Hurston is trying to emphasize that the female’s only role is to marry and look good, and let the man do all the work. Also in her article, Hartman says that “…due to the fact that the man was almost always working, little room was left to develop a connection between husband and wife; love was a foreign concept.”, which describes what Janie and Logan have together exactly. Despite being given all she should want, Janie seeks more.

When Joe “Jody” Starks appears out of nowhere, Janie feels like her dreams have finally come true. But after a while, the marriage turns out to be little more than the stint with Killicks. Starks, like Killicks, treats her as property and not as someone he actually loves. One example is how Jody makes Janie put her hair up in a wrap while working in the store, rather than leave it down.

Another is when he publicly criticizes her appearance, saying she is starting to show her age, when he is clearly at least ten years older: “’ You ain’t no young courtin’ gal. You’se uh old woman, nearly fourty’” (Hurston 79). Joe feels the need to tear down Janie, in order to make himself feel more important, which was an important part of being a man during this time.

By reading the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, one could immediately pick up on the difference gender played during the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s. While women were expected to stay at home and clean and take care of children, men worked to provide for their families and were considered far superior.

While these prejudices have slowly gotten better over time, most of them still exist to a small extent in today’s society. Through the characters’ attitudes and narratives, especially Janie’s relationships, and the society’s feelings as a whole, Their Eyes Were Watching God clearly displays the social issues of sexism and gender roles.

Works Cited
Hartman, Dorothy W. “Women’s Roles in the Late 19th Century.” Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. Conner Prairie, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print. Woltemath, Becca. “Sexism in the Early 1900s.”Worldbook Encyclopedia. Worldbook, 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.

“The Great Gatsby” And “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

A successful marriage can be defined as a union consisting of 3 worths: happiness, trust, and sacrifice. These worths are highlighted in The Terrific Gatsby and Their Eyes Were Seeing God as they are exhibited by the relationships talked about by the authors. The swears said throughout the marital relationship process, mainly till death do you part, associate with these worths as a guarantee in between individuals about to be wed. In order for the marriage to be successful and consist of the values specifying an effective union, there must be the existence of a connection between the two people, typically referred to as love.

In Their Eyes Were Viewing God, Zora Neale Hurston integrates 3 marital relationships into Janies life story. The actual procedure of marital relationship and the existence of a special union thereafter are not spoken of with the splendour they ought to be related to, usually just being referred to for a simple one or two sentences at a time in the book.

So they were married there prior to sundown, similar to Joe had actually said (Hurston 33). The only referrals alluding to a marriage in Hurstons book are subtle and do not call for much factor to consider. As these unions take place three times in the book, each particular marriage can be evaluated for the existence of love and the worths of success.

Janies initially marriage is to the guy Logan Killicks. This marriage is a set up marital relationship by her granny in order for Janie to have a supporting and steady family, as her grannies time to pass grows nearer. Janie marries this male with no feelings of love towards him, being informed that a person would grow to enjoy the one they are wed to. Renee Hausman describes this in the post Their Eyes Were Seeing God by Zora Neale Hurston. Janie, reared by the myth of marital relationship as the only route of expression and satisfaction for a female, wonders, Did marital relationship force love like the sun the day? (p. 21) and finds in the youth of her very first marital relationship to Logan Killicks that definitely it does not (Hausman 62).

As the marriages progresses, Janie does not find this so-called love. Cause you told me Ah mus gointer love him, and, and Ah dont. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah could do it (Hurston 24). In this marriage, there is no presence of love or any of the values of a successful union between two people. There is no happiness there, and no trust between the two, and Janie and Logan would certainly never sacrifice for one another. This is why Janie elopes with Jody Starks when the opportunity arises.

Though the marriage to Jody lasts for most of Janies life, it most certainly is devoid of most aspects of a successful marriage. The hidden purpose of Jodys need to marry Janie is to climb in social rank. The presence of a wife in a mans life raises that mans social stature, the trust other people have in him, and the mans social acceptance, allowing him to become important in politics, as is true in Jodys case. The lack of trust in this union can be seen when Jody becomes mayor of the town and does not allow Janie to make a speech. He believes that women are to be seen, but not heard.

This trust is yet again forsaken in the instance that Janie insults Jodys old body and states that he looks like de change uh life when naked in front of the men on the porch of the store. Janie and Jody are also never happy with one another after a short amount of time had passed in their marriage. The point to the union between Janie and Jody was social gain, providing for a disastrous outcome in the end. This also gave way to the special relationship Janie had with Tea Cake after Jodys death.

The marriage between Janie and Tea Cake is the one marriage in the book that can be described as being successful. It contains the love needed and the values that were not present in the previous two marriages. The love is shown as they slowly start to date and have feelings toward each other. The trust is then built as one action after another happens causing it to form, such as Tea Cake taking Janies money and winning more by gambling with it. The happiness is exposed due to the fact that Janie is working in the the muck to be with Tea Cake when she could easily have stayed in Eatonville and run the store. Tea Cake also illustrates sacrifice as he risks his life to save Janie from the dog during the hurricane. This eventually brings upon the ultimate sacrifice, which is death. This marriage encompasses all the elements of a successful marriage, transforming it into a model marriage for determining success.

In F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby, only two marriages are presented that can be examined for successfulness, those of Tom Buchanan and George Wilson. Though the actual process of marriage has evidently occurred prior to the beginning of the story, these marriages can still be evaluated on the existence of the core values and the presence of love. Despite the fact that Fitzgerald does little to comment on the marriages, he still offers a different perspective than that of Hurston.

The marriage between Tom Buchanan and Daisy provides difficulty in forming an opinion as to whether it is successful or not. It appears as though the couple had once been in love, hence the marriage, but that love had faded, calling for the failure of the marriage. Also, though the partners venture towards other people and secret relationships, they ultimately end up together still married. Nevertheless, these separate relationships outside the marriage cause it to be considered unsuccessful. The aforementioned affairs cause for the values of trust and happiness to be found nonexistent in the relationship. The relations can be said to be the origin of the lack of trust, as one partner is clued into the unfaithfulness of the other. These affairs are also the basis as to whether the couple is content or not in the relationship. A marriage consisting of happiness would not also include an affair by one partner. On these grounds, the marriage between George Wilson and Myrtle can also be found to be a failure.

Due to the fact that Myrtle is one of the people involved in the Buchanans affairs, the value of trust and happiness are found to be wanting. This lack of trust is what drives Myrtle to be out in the road when Daisy and Gatsby strike her in Toms car as George had just accused her of being dishonest. There is a presence of sacrifice in this failed marriage, though, as George proceeds to hunt down Myrtles killer, eradicate him, and commit suicide. This action, however, does not call for a successful marriage. The love had also apparently disappeared from relationship, founding Myrtles unfaithfulness.

From the marriages provided by the authors, the noticeable trend is that the unions devoid of love and at least one of the essential elements of happiness, trust, and sacrifice most likely will end in failure. The one relationship that can be called a success, though not lasting for the longest amount of time, was the only bond that consisted of a connection of the two people by a strong feeling of love. The other relationships that seemed as though they had once felt a bond of love eventually lost that feeling, meaning that the love they felt for one another was false and pretentious. From these commentaries on marriage by the two authors, it can be drawn that Zora Neale Hurston has more of a feeling of hope towards one day finding the one person someone is meant to be with, their one true love.

Double Consciousness and Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a very important piece of literature written in the late 30’s which told the story of a woman and her struggle and quest as a black person, a woman and most importantly, a human being with unique goals and desires. The story followed an ambitious woman and her quest for self-realization and self-discovery together with her experiences as wives and partners of numerous men.

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, a black thinker who lived in almost the same era as Zora Neale Hurston, the author of the novel had introduced an important theoretical model and concept that will be useful for the analysis and interpretation of any reader of Their Eyes Watching God’s.

Du Bois’ concept on double consciousness became a very important perspective and lenses in seeing Hurston work. In this paper, we are going to argue that in the majority of the novel, Du Bois theory on double consciousness dictated much of the affairs and events in the novel of Hurston.

Influenced by this particular framework, the novel became a very important derivative of this Du Bois’ particular idea that encroached not only on his original conception of double consciousness but also its development and occurrence on numerous areas and topics that diversified from its original idea. The Novel The novel started with the controversial return of Janie in the town she formerly hailed with her former husband. She was confident and at the same time aloof for many of the town people that saw her.

Different gossips had spread with her return, mostly negative and against her experiences and characters. At the same time, these accusations are untrue. The only person who talked to her was her old friend in the name of Pheoby Watson. With her conversation with Pheoby, the story of Janie and her struggle and quest was told and revealed (Hurston 8-9). Reading the story, one cannot oversee the kind of language or voice wherein the story was written. The kind of language that was used gave a very unique distinction with the story. The novel was enveloped with an active voice that gave much life reading it.

In short, the novel or the story was told rather than being written. The use of a colorful and trendy black language is widespread in the whole story. The statement like, “Dat’s what Ah say ‘bout dese ole women runnin’ after young boys” is common on the entirety of the novel (Hurston 5). In many cases and speeches, the use of proper English both in writing and speech was disregarded. This kind of telling the story had tried to mirror the black culture that it is trying to tell. The entire novel is a recollection of the events in the life of Janie.

Set in the past, she tried to refresh the memories and experiences of her former affairs and relationships to different men that managed to transform her to what she is at present. Her affairs that mostly end in a tragedy had managed to mold Janie to a kind of person that is strong and firmly grounded inside. Her story of numerous conflicts with herself and the men that she related, together with the environment and the other people around her had managed to release her from the dilemma of having two consciousness circling her thoughts and actions in the past.

Double Consciousness Du Bois double consciousness is explained as being caught up in two worlds. More particularly described as the dilemma of the Black people living in a white world in the western culture, the blacks were forced by the society in general to have a dream and aspiration in accordance to the white’s vision. This is happening at the same time with his vision to retain his blackness, the vision and goals that were enveloped on being a black (McWhorther 1, 14). However, this specific kind of interpreting double consciousness can be expounded to more general terms.

As what is done in Hurston’s novel, this theory on double consciousness was no longer exclusive on a black person quest for identity in a white men’s world. Rather, the theory had shown that double consciousness can also manifest in one’s quest for the realization of his sex and gender. More importantly, double consciousness was used for a person’s quest for the discovery of his or her humanity. Janie, the central character in the novel had shown the numerous issues that are revolving on her character. First is the double consciousness that arose out of her grandmother’s pragmatism.

Her marriage for Logan in the earlier part of the novel was largely based on her grandmother’s idea on what the basis of the marriage should be. For her grandmother, the most important criterion that she must consider in choosing her husband is the security that the man can gave to him. This means both economic and physical security. It is important to note that this idea is made possible by her grandmother’s experience of discrimination and oppression (Hubert 20-21). On the other hand, this kind of idea of pragmatic marriage conflicted with Janie’s desire for a marriage that is based on love, commitment, adventures and passion.

Though she followed her grandmother’s request at first, she soon followed this innate and suppressed dream of hers by leaving her first husband in the name of Logan (Hurston 30). Another notable part of the story that discussed Janie’s quest against double consciousness is her relationship with Jody. Jody, a man who was obsessed with his power tried to isolate and suppressed Janie’s innate passion in relating to people. As stated, “He’s uh whirlwind among breezes . . . he’s de wind and we’se de grass. We bend whichever way he blows” (Hurston 60).

These statements only describe how domineering Jody was not only to his wife but also to his people. With her relationship with Jody, much of Janie’s attitudes, desires and wants were pushed into background because of his power domineering husband (Hurston 59-60). The situation in Janie holding a speech in the town meeting is a good example of Jody’s domination. The town requested for the wife of the mayor to make some speeches. However, Jody prevented her wife to make a speech, saying it is inappropriate for a woman to do such things. Janie did not react loudly on her husband’s action (Hubert 29-30).

However, emotions piled inside her which will explode and shall make her not to love her husband in the near future. Again, this is another case of the double consciousness that happened with Janie. Jody wanted to suppress almost all of her association in the rest of the population. However, deep inside Janie, she has a desire to live and associate with the population, no matter what her husband think of them. The falling ill of Jody and his death also posed a double consciousness in the case of Janie. With the death of the mayor, the rest of the town expected the widow to mourn and grieve for a period of time.

However for Janie, she did not felt to grieve or mourn for the death of her husband. Deep inside her, she felt she was freed from the chains that her husband chained on him. For her, it is not the time for sadness but rather a moment for celebration Nevertheless, she still repressed these positive emotions on public and tried to be perceived to be mourning (Hurston 105-106). Again, this is a conflict of what the society expected to be her action and what she want to do for and by herself. Clearly, this is another notable instance of double consciousness that the novel had shown to us.

Conclusion Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that corresponded much of the idea of Du Bois in relation to double consciousness. However, Hurston writing had managed to expound the usual definition of Dubois on double consciousness. Rather than being stacked on a black person’s journey of self-realization and self-discovery in the land of the whites, Hurston had provided us a more diverse use of Du Bois’ theory. She tried to teach us that in many cases, there is a conflict between what the society, the environment and the people around and ourselves.

The societies where we belong continuously provide expectations and limitation to each one of us. However, in many cases, what we want to aspire and what we want to do does not correspond what the society expect from us. From here, a conflict develops which later became a dilemma that we have to figure out to solve. The concept of double consciousness is a very important concept that we must all ponder and figure out. Every one of us that is caught in the web of these dilemmas is hold back in the pursuit of our dreams and happiness.

Unless we managed to break free from the issues and dilemma that double consciousness had bear to us and act on our own desires and intentions, we cannot really realize and actualize ourselves towards our real happiness. Works Cited Hubert, Christopher. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their eyes were watching God. Research & Education Association. 2001. Web. Accessed 16 May 2010. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Lippincott Company. Philadelphia. 1937. Print. Accessed 16 May 2010. McWhorter, John. Double Consciousness in Black America. CATO Policy Report Vol. XXV No. 2. March April 2003. Print. Accessed 16 May 2010.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

About the Author Although Zora Neale Hurston (1891– 1960) passed away impoverished and was buried in an unmarked grave in a racially segregated cemetery, she had an exceptional career as a novelist. She was likewise a pioneer in recording African American culture. Hurston matured in Eatonville, Florida, a totally included African American town, and studied at Howard University. In 1925, she moved to New York City, where she became an influential talent of the Harlem Renaissance, the blossoming of African American literature and art.

While attending Barnard College, she satisfied the well-known anthropologist Franz Boaz, who persuaded her to study the folklore of African Americans in the South. Her very first collection of African American folk tales, Mules and Men, was released in 1935.

Her second collection, Tell My Horse, released in 1938, likewise contained descriptions of African American cultural beliefs and routines brought from Africa. Hurston achieved important and popular success with her novels Jonah’s Gourd (1934 ), Their Eyes Were Enjoying God( 1937 ), and Moses, Man of the Mountain (1939 ).

She also composed a prizewinning autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Roadway (1942 ), as well as narratives and plays. When Hurston passed away in 1960, all her works were out of print. In the 1970s, African American author Alice Walker restored interest in Hurston, helping to restore her reputation. Background Their Eyes Were Viewing God is set in Florida during the 1930s. Although the story is imaginary, the town of Eatonville, developed and governed by African Americans, is genuine. At the end of the Civil War, blacks settled near the town of Maitland. In 1882, the black business person Joseph C. Clarke purchased a big system of land, subdivided it, and sold lots to black families.

In 1887, blacks incorporated the area as an independent town called Eatonville, Hurston’s childhood home. Quick Guide As you read Their Eyes Were Watching God, keep these literary elements in mind: •Figurative languageis writing or speech not meant to be interpreted literally. Similes, metaphors, and personification are types of figurative language. A simile compares two things, using the words likeor as.In a metaphor, one thing is spoken of as though it were something else. In personification, a nonhuman subject is given human qualities. Note how Hurston uses figurative language to enrich the novel. •Dialectis language spoken by people in a particular region or by a particular group. Pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence structure are affected by dialect. To become accustomed to the dialect in this novel, read the dialogue— the characters’ words—aloud. Pronounce the words as they are spelled. •A symbolis a person, place, or thing that stands for something beyond its own meaning. Note the symbolism of the pear tree in this novel. •A conflictis a struggle between opposing forces.

The characters in this novel meet external conflicts,in which they struggle with outside forces, such as another character, a force of nature, or society. They also face internal conflicts,or conflicts within themselves. As you read, notice especially Janie’s internal conflicts. •The contextof a work is the historical and cultural settingin which the action takes place. Their Eyes Were Watching Godis set in the social and cultural world of African Americans in the South during the 1930s. •Character motivationis the reason for a character’s behavior. Consider what motivates the main character, Janie, in this novel. Their Eyes Were Watching GodReading Guide © Pearson Education, Inc. 1 Their Eyes Were Watching GodReading Guide Vocabulary 1.dilated(dì» làt id)adj.opened, enlarged, or extended (page 7) 2.consolation(kon sß là» §ßn)n.comfort (page 7) 3.desecrating(de» sß kràt« i¢)v.deliberately damaging something sacred (page 14) 4.ether(è» •ßr)n.the heavens (page 25) 5.incredulous(in krej» ø lßs)adj. disbelieving (page 37) 6.boisterously(b¡s» tßr ßs lè)adv. in a loud and noisy manner (page 39) 7. jurisdiction(jør« is dik» §ßn) n.the range of authority or control (page 42) 8.invested(in vest» ßd)v.covered with (page 43)

9.temerity(tß mer» ß tè)n.foolhardiness; reckless disregard for danger (page 50) 10.prominence(pram» ß nßns)n.the quality of being widely known (page 53) 11.indulge(in dulj») gratify a desire (page 53) 12.hyperbole(hì p†r» bß lè) n.figure of speech that uses exaggeration (page 63) 13.hearse(h†rs)n.vehicle for transporting a dead body during a funeral (page 88) 14.insinuations(in sin yØ à» §ßnz)n. acts introduced gradually and by subtle means (page 88) 15.dissolution(dis ß lØ» §ßn)n.extinction of life; disintegration (page 112) 16. excruciating(eks krØ» §è àt« i¢)adj.extremely painful (page 108) 17.desolation(des« ß là» §ßn)n.the state of being deserted or unfit for habitation (page 167) 18.perseverance(p†r sß vèr» ßns)n.following a course of action or belief without giving up (page 167 ) 19.supplication(sup li kà» §ßn) n.the act of asking humbly or earnestly (page 178) 20.drone(dròn) make a low humming sound (page 188) Chapters 1–3 (pages 1–25)

Discussion Questions 1.What criticisms of Janie do the women sitting on the porch mention? Why are they so critical of her? 2.What common words and phrases are represented by these examples of dialect:Ah kin, mah, sho nuff, dat? 3.What does Janie mean when she says, “Mah tongue is in mah friend’s mouf”? 4.What does the blossoming pear tree in Chapter 2 symbolize? 5.How does Nanny’s experience as a young woman affect her hopes for Janie? Writing ActivityWrite a paragraph describing what Janie learns from her marriage to Logan Killicks. Chapters 4–5 (pages 26–50) Discussion Questions 1.List one example each of metaphor, simile, andpersonificationin these chapters. 2.What is Janie’s internal conflictregarding Jody? 3.Why does Janie decide to run away with Jody? 4.How does Jody realize his dreams of becoming a “big voice”? 5.How does Jody treat Janie? Writing ActivityWrite a diary entry as if you were Janie. Describe your new life with Jody. Chapter 6 (pages 51–75)

Discussion Questions 1.Which details of the novel so far explain the cultural and historical context? 2.What are the people’s attitude toward the mule? 3.Why does Janie feel sympathy for the mule? 4.How does Janie’s attitude toward Jody change? 5.Why do the men criticize Mrs. Tony? Why does Janie defend her? Writing ActivityWrite a paragraph explaining whether or not you think Janie is better off with Jody than she was with Logan. Chapters 7–10 (pages 76–99) Discussion Questions 1.What does the author mean when she says, “She got nothing from Jody except what money could buy, and she was giving away what she didn’t value”? Their Eyes Were Watching GodReading Guide 2 Their Eyes Were Watching GodReading Guide 2.How is Jody affected by Janie’s insult to his manhood? 3.What is Janie’s motivationfor confronting Jody on his deathbed? Do you agree with her actions? Why or why not? 4.Why does Janie hate her grandmother? 5.How does Janie react to Tea Cake? What can you predict about their future relationship? Writing ActivityBriefly contrast the way Tea Cake treats Janie to the way Jody treats her.

Chapters 11–13 (pages 100–128) Discussion Questions 1.Whatinternal conflictdoes Janie have over Tea Cake? 2.What does the image of Tea Cake as “a pear tree blossom in the spring” symbolize? 3.What does Janie mean when she says, “Ah wants tuh utilize mahself all over” (p. 112)? 4.What does Janie mean when she says, “He done taught me de maiden language all over”? 5.What events make Janie finally come to fully trust and believe in Tea Cake? Writing ActivityWrite a paragraph describing what Janie finds attractive about Tea Cake. Why does she fall in love with him? Chapters 14–17 (pages 129–153) Discussion Questions 1.How would you describe the cultural contextof these chapters? 2.How do other people of the community regard Tea Cake and Janie? 3.What is Mrs. Turner’s attitude regarding African American people? How is her attitude different from Janie’s? 4.Why do both men and women feel envious when Tea Cake hits Janie? 5.Why do you think Tea Cake intervenes in the fight at Mrs. Turner’s? Writing ActivityWrite a paragraph explaining how Mrs. Turner’s attitude toward her race reflects the cultural and historical context.

Chapter 18 (pages 154–167) Discussion Questions 1.What are signs that a serious hurricane is approaching? Why do Tea Cake and Janie ignore the warnings? 2.How is Lake Okechobee personifiedas the hurricane approaches? 3.What does Janie mean by the statement, “If you kin see de light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk. It’s so many people never seen de light at all” (p. 159)? 4.What type of figurative languageis expressed by “Their eyes were watching God”? What does this statement mean? Writing ActivityWrite a paragraph describing what happened during the hurricane. Chapters 19–20 (pages 168–193) Discussion Questions 1.How does the description of burying the dead reflect thecultural context? 2.How do Janie and Tea Cake make fun of white people’s prejudice against them? 3.Why does the author describe Tea Cake’s death as “the meanest moment of eternity” (p. 184)? 4.Why do Janie’s black friends turn against her at her trial? 5.Whatfigure of speechdoes Janie use to describe love (p. 191)? Writing ActivityWrite a short narrative from the point of view of another character to explain what happens to Tea Cake.

Pulling It All Together WritingWrite an essay explaining how Janie changes by the end of the novel. What has she learned about herself? About love? Dramatic ReadingChoose a passage of about one to two pages that includes dialogue. Perform an oral reading for the class. Be sure to pronounce the dialect as it is written. When reading dialogue, use appropriate tone and gestures. Their Eyes Were Watching GodReading Guide 3 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston Sensitive Issues The novel includes language and attitudes toward African Americans that are considered offensive today. Remind students that this novel was published in the 1930s and concerns experiences of African Americans during that time. Chapters 1–3 1.They criticize her clothing, her relationship with a young man, and her manners; they seem to be envious of her. 2.Ah kin—I can; mah—my; sho nuff—sure enough; dat—that 3.“My tongue is in my friend’s mouth,” which means that her friend will speak for her and tell her story. 4.Possible responses: It represents her dreams, possibilities, the promise of love, adulthood. 5.Nanny had a child by her slave master and was mistreated by the master’s wife; she wanted Janie to be safe and have a husband to protect her.

Writing ActivityShe learns that love does not automatically come with marriage; she realizes she could never be satisfied with Logan and that she wants more out of life. Chapters 4–5 1. Possible responses: simile: “morning air like a new dress”; metaphor: “He had always wanted to be a big voice”; personification: “The sun from ambush was threatening the world with red daggers.” 2.She is attracted to Jody and to the prospect of new horizons, but she is afraid that he might use her and then leave. 3.She realizes that life with Logan means a narrow existence with little romance or excitement; Jody offers a way out and a chance at new horizons. 4.He works to establish a new town by buying up land and organizing people to begin developing it. 5.He treats her like a lady and does not allow her to participate in important decisions and activities. Writing ActivityStudents’ entries may suggest that Janie is disappointed with her new life; that she was expecting more participation in life instead of being just a fixture.

Chapter 6 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. the details about the farm; attitudes about white people; dialect, storytelling, and humorous exchanges They make jokes about him; they think it’s funny to tease him; they have no concern for him. Possible response: Like the mule, she too has been treated like an object for many years. She realizes that he was never the romantic figure she had originally thought; she no longer loves him. They believe she is making a fool of her husband; they believe she is deliberately spiteful toward her husband. Janie believes the men are arrogant and that they think they are better than women. Writing ActivityStudents may suggest that she is better off with Jody because she has more financial security and that she sees more of the world. Others may say that while Logan wanted Janie to work hard, Jody tries to break her spirit, and so she was better off with Logan.

Chapters 7–10 1.She receives no love or respect from Jody; she gives him her obedience and her work, but she does not give him her heart. 2. He is humiliated; he strikes her when she insults him; he worries that people are making fun of him.3.Possible responses: She wants to let him know what he has done to her before it’s too late; she may want to hurt him. Some students may agree with her, saying that he deserves to hear the truth; others may say that it is cruel to torment a dying person. 4.She feels her grandmother “sold” her and tried to stifle her dreams for the sake of material security. 5.She is attracted to him and a little afraid of him, worried about what his motives might be. They probably will have a happy relationship. Writing ActivityStudent paragraphs should show that Tea Cake treats her with respect and enjoys her company; Jody treats her like an object or a possession to be dominated.

Chapters 11–13 1. 2. 3. She likes him and is attracted to him, but she cannot believe that he is being honest with her; she is concerned about the difference in their ages; she is worried that he might just want to use her and take her money. He symbolizes her dreams for romance and love, new life, and a life that is fulfilling. She wants to grow and exercise all of her abilities and possibilities. 4He has renewed her dreams and makes her feel young again. 5.He uses her money but replaces it by gambling and returning to her. Writing ActivityStudent responses may reflect that he treats her with respect; he seems to enjoy her company; he is funny and lively. Chapters 14–17 1.The people are migrant workers who come to the Everglades seasonally; they are mostly poor and black, with little education, but they enjoy life and one another’s company. 2.They enjoy his good humor and her good looks; they look up to them. 3.She does not like black people; she thinks that the lighter the skin the better; she looks down on blacks. Janie accepts her people and enjoys their company. 4.The men believe it is a sign of his dominance and possession of her; the women believe it is a sign of his love for her. 5.Possible responses: He knows that by pretending to stop the fight, it will actually make the fight worse.

Writing ActivityStudent paragraphs should show that, at the time, blacks suffered discrimination and segregation and were not treated as equal to whites, especially in the South. Many blacks tried to look more like white people in order to gain acceptance Chapter 18 1.the Indians leaving; the crows flying; the warning of Tea Cake’s friends. They are making good money; Tea Cake believes that the weather will clear. 2.The lake is personified as a monster rolling in its bed. 3.She has “seen the light” with her life with Tea Cake and believes she is better off than many other people who have never had the chance at real love. 4.A metaphor. Possible meanings: they were depending on God, or a higher power, to protect them, or they were watching and waiting to see what the higher power, nature, or fate had in store for them.

Writing ActivityStudent paragraphs should reflect details of the hurricane as described in the text. Chapters 19–20 1.It shows white men forcing black men to work, segregation even in death, and the lesser value placed on blacks. 2.They joke about how whites think that the black people they know are okay but the ones they do not know are bad and that whites think that they already know all the “good” blacks. 3.It was the cruelest moment in Janie’s life when she had to kill the man who had helped her blossom and whom she loved. 4.They claim that she was trying to poison Tea Cake. 5.She uses a simile, comparing love to the sea. Writing ActivityThe narrative should include the main events of Tea Cake’s sickness and death. Pulling It All Together WritingStudent essays should reflect Janie’s growth and how she becomes aware of her own needs and feelings and learns the meaning of love. Dramatic ReadingReadings should accurately reflect the dialect and be performed with appropriate voice inflections and gestures.

Answers to Test Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston 2. c A. Thinking About Their Eyes Were Watching God 1. c 3. d 8. a 9. c 10. b 4. b 5. b 6. b 7. b B.Recognizing Literary Elements and Techniques 11.dialect 12.figurative language 13.conflict 14.context 15.symbol C. Essay Questions 16.EasyStudents should give details about each man. For example, Logan Killicks was hard working and willing to provide for Janie, but he lacked imagination and an adventurous spirit. He would have stifled Janie. She married him at the insistence of her grandmother, who believed that she would be safe and cared for in the marriage. 17.AverageStudents may suggest that Janie achieved her dreams of “far horizons” and true love. They may use examples of her leaving Logan Killicks; of her resisting Jody’s attempts to dominate her; and, finally, her love for Tea Cake.

Others may point out that she lived with Jody for many years, that she lost Tea Cake, and that she returned to Eatonville as a seemingly broken woman. 18.ChallengingStudents who argue that she should have portrayed the sufferings of blacks may discuss the social conditions of the time and use the examples of Mrs. Turner’s obvious prejudice and the incident in which Tea Cake was pressed into service in burying flood victims. Students who argue in support of Hurston may use examples such as Joe Stark’s organizing a township, the humorous stories that the characters tell one another, and Janie’s sense of dignity

Their Eyes Were Watching God Movie

Throughout the book Janie struggles to find the true definition of love and how to make herself happy with her relationships. She goes through several different ideas of love before finding that it is mutual compassion, understanding, and respect that makes her the most happy. Near the beginning of the book, Janie develops an idealistic view of love whilst lying underneath a pear tree. She is young and naïve, enthralled with the beauty of spring. She comes to the conclusion that marriage is the ultimate expression of love and finds herself pondering why she does not have a partner.

In the rashness of her hormone clouded brain, she is drawn to Johnny Taylor, who is nearly a stranger. This is her first experience formulating ideas about love and marriage. The pear tree becomes a representation of this hopeful and young idea of love. page 11- “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight.

So this was a marriage!”

However, her previous ideas are shattered due to her marriage to Logan Killicks. She hopes and believes that, after marrying him, she will eventually grow to love him. Unfortunately, he is too rough with her and Janie never develops feelings for him. page 25- “The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” The last phrase “so she became a woman” also points out that her first failed marriage has caused her to mature past the previous “pear tree” ideas. She is no longer naïve, and has been exposed to the world more so than before. Nanny instills the idea into Janie that love was not as important as having a life with a stable husband and income.

She does not want to see Janie in the same position that she and her daughter were in. She only wants her to be safe from harm and poverty. This idea of love influences Janie’s choice in men in her first two marriages, and ultimately leads to her being unhappy. page 15- Nanny states, “’Tain’t Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it’s protection.” This summarizes her reasoning in having her marry Logan and the idea that she gets across to Janie. Hope for another, more successful but still profitable marriage was what drove her to marry Joe. He was an opportunity to get away from Logan, but also seemed wealthy. page 29- “Janie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for far horizon.

He spoke for change and chance. Still she hung back. The memory of Nanny was still powerful and strong.” Janie’s relationship with Jody was a failure because there was a lack of equality and respect between the two parties. First of all, Janie feels uncomfortable that Jody goes about making the town great while she is left to do nothing. She is treated as authority simply because she sleeps with authority, as she puts it. It makes her feel isolated. page 46- “A feeling of coldness and fear took hold of her. She felt far away from things and lonely.”

The head rag which Jody forced Janie to wear around the store was a symbol of his controlling nature and dominance over her. He feels that she is a property of his and only he should be allowed to appreciate her beauty. page 55- “That night he ordered Janie to tie up her hair around the store. She was there in the store for him to look at, not those others. “ He also does not allow her to converse with the customers on the porch of the shop. He is incredibly domineering and it prevents Janie from being happy.

Janie’s final relationship is the one that is successful. He treats Janie more like an equal and there is a mutual understanding and compassion. There is a long list of instances that prove that Tea Cake’s relationship with Janie was the relationship in which Janie is treated the best and was the most happy. This is also the relationship in which Janie develops as a woman and is able to become independent. page 95- “He set it up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play. That was even nice.” Tea Cake, from the start, does not isolate her. He plays checkers with her, showing that he does not just think of her as a dumb incompetent woman like Jody did. page 105- “It makes uh whole heap uh difference wid most folks, Tea Cake.”

“Things lak dat got uh whole lot tuh do wid convenience, but it ain’t got nothin’ tuh to wid love.” Tea Cake shows that the age difference between them is not a concern and does not get in the way of their love. There is an understanding between the two of them that this will be of concern to most people, but they decide to look past it. page 124- “Looka heah, Tea Cake, if you ever go off from me and have a good time lak dat and then come back heah tellin’ me how nice Ah is, Ah specks tuh kill yuh dead. You heah me?” Tea Cake returns home after Janie has a panic attack regarding the two hundred dollars she thought he stole. She assumed he had run off, but he returned with it. This sets up trust between the two parties.

Additionally, there is understanding between the two of them, as Tea Cake accepts that she wishes to accompany him to future events. This also sets them up to spend time with each other instead of Janie being isolated like she was with Jody. page 148- “Janie is wherever Ah wants tuh be. Dat’s de kin uh wife she is and Ah love her for it. Ah wouldn’t be knockin’ her around. Ah didn’t wants whup her last night, but ol’ Mis’ Turner done sent for her brother tuh come tuh bait Janie in and tke her way from me.

Ah didn’t whup Janie ‘cause she done nothin’. Ah beat her tuh show dem Turners who is boss. Ah set in de kitchen one day and heard dat woman tell mah wife Ah’m too black fuh her. She don’t see how Janie can stand me.” This shows that Tea Cake loves Janie and prefers not to beat her, unlike most husbands of the time. He is compassionate with her and only beats her because he does not want her taken away from him. The entire ordeal with Tea Cake contracting rabies shows how much they love each other.

The reason Tea Cake died was because of them expressing their love for each other by trying to save each other. Janie was trying to get roofing to shelter Tea Cake, Tea Cake was bitten in his effort to save Janie, and Janie was able to shoot Tea Cake because he taught her how to. Ultimately, Janie grew as a person from her marriage to Tea Cake. It was the marriage in which she was the happiest. After her whole ordeal with Tea Cake, she has found true happiness, and is content to spend the rest of her life resting in Eatonville.

Their Eyes Were Watching God Quotes

1) Janie, on her gossiping neighbors, stressing the importance of storytelling and oral tradition: “Ah don’t mean to bother wid tellin’ ’em nothin’, Pheoby. ‘Tain’t worth de trouble. You can tell ’em what Ah say if you wants to. Dat’s just de same as me ’cause mah tongue is in mah friend’s mouf” (6).

2) Janie, to the men of Eatonville: “Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business. He told surprised y’all is goin’ tuh be if you ever find out you don’t know half as much ’bout us as you think yo do.

It’s so easy to make yo’self out God Almighty when you ain’t got nothin’ tuh strain against but women and chickens” (70-71).

3) On Janie: “She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels” (72).

4) Janie, after Joe’s death: “To my thinkin’ mourning oughtn’t tuh last no longer’n grief” (89).

5) Eatonville habitants, on Janie: “It was hard to love a woman that always made you feel so wishful” (111).

6) On Tea Cake: “Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place” (122).

7) On waiting for the mighty hurricane: “They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God” (151).

8) Tea Cake, on Janie: “.don’t say you’se ole. You’se uh lil girl baby all de time. God made it so you spent yo’ ole age first wid somebody else, and saved up yo’ young girl days to spend wid me” (172).

9) Janie, on love: “.love ain’t somethin’ lak uh grindstone dat’s de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore” (182).

10) Janie: “It’s uh known fact, Pheoby, you got tuh go there tuh know there..Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves” (183).

Put me down easy Janie Ah’m a cracked plate.” -20-

In this quote Janie’s grandmother “Nanny” is talking to Janie about letting her the rest of life easy. Janie’s grandmother is planning to send Janie off to get married because she is no longer able to care for her. Before this quote you learn that Janie was raised by her nanny and never really knew her parents. Janie’s nanny was a hard working woman that worked her whole life to right the wrong she did raising Janie’s mother. Janie’s nanny worked hard to provide for Janie and once she found Janie outside flirting with Johnny Taylor she was sure that it was time to marry Janie off. I felt this quote was important because it shows one of the aspects of the relationship between Janie and her nanny. It plays a role in the book because the after facts of this quote starts Janie on a search for true love. “What need has death for a cover, and winds can blow against him.”

-84- At this point in the book when you come across this quote Janie’s second husband Joe Starks is very sick and dying. Even though Janie knows he is dying Joe thinks that he will get better. Joe is an insecure man who refuses to let Janie come into his sick room and visit him. I thought this quote was important because it comes from Janie. It shows how she feels about death. Death, a topic that no one wants to discuss yet Janie sums up what we all want to say in this one quote. To me this quote says that no one has protection from death and no one can stop death. I think it is important to the book because later on the book it shows a relationship between poeple connected to Janie and how no matter how she feels about the death will come. ”

They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.” -161- This quote comes into play while Janie and Tea Cake are in the Glades getting ready to leave because of a hurricane. At this point Janie and Tea Cake have waited to late to leave and are trying to decide if they want to try and beat the water or just stay there. I found this quote important because it ties the title of the book in with the situations that occur in the book. They are sitting there and despite the situation around them they can still find security within each other and God. “So Ah’m back home agin and Ah’m satisfied tuh be heah. Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah Kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons.”

-191- As you read this quote Janie is talking to Phoeby after she has returned from the Glades. Jane has been acquitted of Tea Cakes murder, because it was self defense. In this quote Janie says that she has lived her life to her satisfication. By her saying she has been to the horizon and back and she can live by comparisons now I thought she meant that she had lived to one extreme to another.

By the time she got with Tea Cake she had, had two husbands. One who felt she could work just as anybody else and another who put her up so high on a pedestal that her hair couldn’t even be worn down. But then she found Tea Cake the man who was the median between them both. This quote is important because it tells how Janie felt after going through she had been through throughout her life and she felt that with it all she had accomplished what she wanted to and that was all that counted. “She called in her soul to come and see.”

-193- Once you finish this quote you have finished the book! To me this quote is deeper that it reads, because you read it, then you have to think about what it means. Some quotes are self explanatory while others require more thought. As i read the words around this quote I thought she was reflecting on the day her love died and the day she was in court yet that day in court her lover was very much alive within her. And he flew around her ans carried away the pain. However, she called herself in, her inner self to see everything she had become. “She called in her soul to come and see”, she reflected on her life and realized how life could change a person without even knowing.

Throughout Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God

Throughout Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston uses a number of different items as symbols to convey the significance of certain events that take place in Janie’s, the main characters, lifespan. In this novel, Janie’s life moves in stages. With each stage comes a different item of clothing that represents another relationship and reflects Janie’s inner self during that period in time. Using an apron, a head rag, a blue satin dress, and overalls, Hurston communicates how Janie grows and evolved as a person throughout her relationships with Logan Killicks, Jody Starks, and most importantly, Tea Cake.

In the beginning of the novel, Janie’s marries a man by the name of Logan Killicks, a very successful farmer. During their relationship, Janie wears an apron. The apron shows that Janie is a housewife, merely taking orders and doing what she is told to do. During the course of their marriage, Janie came to realize that she “knew now that marriage did not make love” (25).

Janie does not love Logan. She married him for Nanny, her grandmother, and never was able to develop the love for him, as she desired. At this point, Janie begins seeing Jody Starks, and eventually leaves Logan. Upon leaving, she “feels the apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside one road and walked on” (32) as if release of being a housewife and allowing herself to move on; no strings attached.

In Jane’s second marriage with Jody, Janie is forced to wear a head rag by Jody. This hides Janie’s hair. Janie’s hair is very different from other women in her community. Her hair is straight, like white women, as opposed to curly. Her hair is a symbol of her uniqueness and independence. By forcing Janie to cover her hair and wear the head rag, Jody extinguishes Janie’s independence. Jody controls Janie, insults her, and destroys her self-esteem. She conforms to his wants and demands, not even fighting back when he hits her. The head rag represents Jody’s dominance over Janie in their relationship. Ultimately, this proves that their relationship in not based on true love, and this ends in a failed relationship.

After Jody dies, Janie’s meets Tea Cake, who buys her a blue satin dress. This dress is worn at their wedding and is of high significance despite the small amount of time it is worn by Janie. It is a symbol of a new start with Tea Cake. In addition, it has only been nine months since Jody’s death. At one point. Janie says to Pheoby:

Ah ain’t grievin’ so why do Ah hafta mourn? Tea Cake love me in blue, so Ah wears it. Jody ain’t never in his life picked out no color for me. De world picked out black and white for mournin’, Joe didn’t. So Ah wasn’t wearin’ it for him. Ah was wearin’ it for de rest of y’all (113).

This shows that Janie is sad about his death since she is not mourning, as the community believes she should do. Janie did not truly love Jody, however, she does love Tea Cake greatly and is “always in blue because Tea Cake told her to wear it”(110). Later in their marriage, Janie switched her attire to overalls. These overalls are nothing fancy and are worn for her work in the fields with Tea Cake. For this reason, they are proven to be a symbol of equality and true love. Neither Tea Cake nor Janie are of higher stature than one another as the men were in Janie’s past relationships. “What if Eatonville could see her in now in her blue denim overalls and heavy shoes?” (134) is a thought that Janie simply laughs at. Janie’s love is proven in her ability to become Tea Cake’s equal despite what the people of the town say about how he is poor.

Janie continues to wear the overalls after Tea Cakes death, when she returns to Eatonville. She doesn’t dress up to mourn. Janie “went on in her overalls. She was too busy feeling grief to dress like grief” (189). This further proves Janie’s feelings for Tea Cake more than anything. With Jody, Janie mourned his death and didn’t care for him, showing that mourning doesn’t mean she was sad. In this situation, Janie does not follow what is considered the right thing to do. She knows how sad she feels about Tea Cake and that is the only thing that matters to her at this point in time.

The use of clothing as symbols is a dominant element of Hurston’s writing in Their Eyes Were Watching God. It successfully conveys Janie’s emotions and thoughts throughout her life. The symbolism of clothing shows how she evolved from following what is considered “right” and becoming what she wants; someone who experienced true love. Janie wore an apron for Nanny’s dream, a head rag to satisfy Jody’s need for dominance, and a blue satin dress and overalls for true love and equality with Tea Cake.

Works Cited

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.

Gender in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Gender is the wide set of characteristics that distinguish between male and female entities, extending from one’s biological sex to, in humans, one’s social role or gender identity. Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. Sexual politics is the principles governing relationships between the sexes; also, such relationships seen in terms of power. Ideas and activities that are concerned with how power is shared between men and women, and how this affects their relationships

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a text at once (ac)claimed for its ability to speak to contemporary gender and sexual politics and blamed for its inability to speak to the local, particularized politics of its time Their Eyes were watching God disrupts neat dichotomies (any splitting of a whole into exactly two non-overlapping parts.

) between respectability and desire, middle- and working-class discourses, and club and blues women. Their Eyes alludes to the politics of rape and lynching, by first charging Janie with sexual misconduct and then by acquitting her, primarily in the trial scene.

However, Their Eyes does not reject charges of African American women’s libidinousness (driven by lust) at the expense of sexual expression, as literary critics have argued of other texts from this period. J ANIE CRAWFORD, an attractive, confident, middle-aged black woman, returns to Eatonville, Florida, after a long absence. The black townspeople gossip about her and -speculate about where she has been and what has happened to her young husband, Tea Cake. They take her confidence as aloofness, but Janie’s friend Pheoby Watson sticks up for her. Pheoby visits her to find out what has happened.

Their conversation frames the story that Janie relates. Janie explains that her grandmother raised her after her mother ran off. Nanny loves her granddaughter and is dedicated to her, but her life as a slave and experience with her own daughter, Janie’s mother, has warped her worldview. Her primary desire is to marry Janie as soon as possible to a husband who can provide security and social status for her. She finds a much older farmer named Logan Killicks and insists that Janie marry him. After moving in with Logan, Janie is miserable. Logan is pragmatic and unromantic and, in general, treats her like a pack mule.

One day, Joe Starks, a smooth-tongued and ambitious man, ambles down the road in front of the farm. He and Janie flirt in secret for a couple weeks before she runs off and marries him. Janie and Jody, as she calls him, travel to all-black Eatonville, where Jody hopes to have a “big voice. ” A consummate politician, Jody soon succeeds in becoming the mayor, postmaster, storekeeper, and the biggest landlord in town. But Janie seeks something more than a man with a big voice. She soon becomes disenchanted with the monotonous, stifling life that she shares with Jody.

She wishes that she could be a part of the rich social life in town, but Jody doesn’t allow her to interact with “common” people. Jody sees Janie as the fitting ornament to his wealth and power, and he tries to shape her into his vision of what a mayor’s wife should be. On the surface, Janie silently submits to Jody; inside, however, she remains passionate and full of dreams. After almost two decades of marriage, Janie finally asserts herself. When Jody insults her appearance, Janie rips him to shreds in front of the townspeople, telling them all how ugly and impotent he is.

In retaliation, he savagely beats her. Their marriage breaks down, and Jody becomes quite ill. After months without interacting, Janie visits him on his deathbed. Refusing to be silenced, she once again chastises him for the way that he treated her. As she berates him, he dies. After Jody’s funeral, Janie feels free for the first time in years. She rebuffs various suitors who come to court her because she loves her newfound independence. But when Tea Cake, a man twelve years her junior, enters her life, Janie immediately senses a spark of mutual attraction.

She begins dating Tea Cake despite critical gossip within the town. To everyone’s shock, Janie then marries Tea Cake nine months after Jody’s death, sells Jody’s store, and leaves town to go with Tea Cake to Jacksonville. During the first week of their marriage, Tea Cake and Janie encounter difficulties. He steals her money and leaves her alone one night, making her think that he married her only for her money. But he returns, explaining that he never meant to leave her and that his theft occurred in a moment of weakness. Afterward, they promise to share all their experiences and opinions with each other.

They move to the Everglades, where they work during the harvest season and socialize during the summer off-season. Tea Cake’s quick wit and friendliness make their shack the center of entertainment and social life. A terrible hurricane bursts into the Everglades two years after Janie and Tea Cake’s marriage. As they desperately flee the rising waters, a rabid dog bites Tea Cake. At the time, Tea Cake doesn’t realize the dog’s condition; three weeks later, however, he falls ill. During a rabies–induced bout of madness, Tea Cake becomes convinced that Janie is cheating on him.

He starts firing a pistol at her and Janie is forced to kill him to save her life. She is immediately put on trial for murder, but the all-white, all-male jury finds her not guilty. She returns to Eatonville where her former neighbors are ready to spin malicious gossip about her circumstances, assuming that Tea Cake has left her and taken her money. Janie wraps up her recounting to Pheoby, who is greatly impressed by Janie’s experiences. Back in her room that night, Janie feels at one with Tea Cake and at peace with herself.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God”

An analysis of the book “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” In life to discover our self-identity a person must show others what one thinks or feels and speak his or her mind. Sometimes their opinions may be silenced or even ignored. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the main character Janie would sometimes speak her ideas and they would often make a difference. The author, Zora Neale Hurston, gives Janie many chances to speak and she shows the reader outcomes.

When dealing with all of the different people Jaine faced, she would find a way to speak her ideas, receive a response, and through this exchange she developed her sense of self-worth. When Janie found a way to speak her ideas, they would have an impact on everyone. Though, Janie did not always speak her ideas. She would often do something that made an impression on someone. The first real action Janie took was to leave her husband, Logan Killicks.

By doing this, she has shown the community that a person can not always be happy with material things when she or he is not in love. Janie says, “Ah want things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think.” She shows her grandma that she is not happy with her Janie’s next husband, Joe Starks was very nice to her and gave her everything she wanted. When it came to Janie wanting to talk or speak her mind, he would not let her, and that made her feel like she was less of a person than he. Until one day, towards the end of their long marriage, when Jody made a very mean comment about Janie’s body. She came back with, “When you pull down yo’ britches, you look lak de change uh life.” After these words came out, Jody hit her. These harsh words could never be forgiven. At the end of their marriage, before Jody died she finally told him her feelings. “….And now you got tuh die tuh find out dat you got tuh pacify somebody besides yo’self if you wants any love and any sympathy in dis world. You ain’t tired to pacify nobody but yo’self. Too busy listening tuh yo’own big voice,” said Janie. Her final and most loved husband was Vergible “Tea Cake” Woods. She could talk most openly with him. Once, she accused Tea Cake of having a liking for Nukie. He quickly reassured her that he didn’t, and there was nothing to be worried about. After Tea Cake’s death, Janie was too upset to wear mourning clothes. She instead wore her normal outfit, overalls and boots. This shows that her love for Tea Cake was so strong that she could not think about anything or anyone but him. Janie received many responses from her family and friends, when she expressed herself. When she was young her grandma hit her for saying that she was not interested in Mr. Killicks, and because she was kissing another boy under the pear tree. At the cost of Jody’s embarrassment, Janie got smacked. There were times when the whole town would not understand her actions,and she would have to some how explain herself to the community. Through speaking her mind to her different husbands, she was able to see who really loved her and was interested in her opinions and ideas. Janie would speak her ideas and, receive a response and through this exchange she developed her sense of self-worth. When she spoke her mind, the people in the town were able to reflect upon what she was saying. Her impact made people see her as more than a simple house wife. Furthermore, when Tea Cake let her participate in the work, it made her feel like she was worth something more than just a wife. Tea Cake had given Janie the self-worth that she needed. He had given her the confidence to pull the whole world onto her shoulders and she found great happiness in his memories. She learned a lot through Tea Cake’s love and she was very happy being with him. Janie’s marriage with Tea Cake was finally like “sitting under a pear tree to just think.”