Their Eyes Were Watching God

Display of Conformity and Individuality in Their Eyes Were Watching God

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” written by Zora Neale Hurston, a conflict builds between Janie wanting individuality and also having to deal with others outward societal conformity. This conflict between man and society, or Janie and society, is the backbone of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” as Janie’s conflict with others comes with her journey of self-actualization in who she is and who she wants to be. However, in order to accomplish and finish her journey, she has to face oppression from her husband(s), grandmother, and society.

Displaying conformity to society and its standards when one wants to follow their own standards is very difficult, and Janie learned this through much of her adult life and even when she was younger. While in her younger years, her grandmother, always wanted her to marry young and to a rich, older man, so she can become an ordinary and obedient housewife. While she does it, she certainly resents it but does not show anyone because of the repercussions that would follow if she did go through with it. As she grows older, and she marries Logan, she starts questioning herself and her situation and eventually leaves, but on Logan’s “blessing”.

As she continues on her journey from leaving Logan, she thinks that she is finding “love” when she runs off with Jody but the sad truth of it is she is sucked back into an even worse conformity index than she ever has before. Jody’s main goals are through money, power, social status and to doll up Janie. However, while all this is happening in their marriage, she is losing all of her individuality, which she endures for years on end and repeat. Being that she is the mayor’s wife, she has to wear a mask and truly commit to conforming to the societal standards from everyone else in the town were Jody is the mayor. In her fully committing for so long she loses sight of what she is and buries her true self away. Another addition to her hiding her real self is when Jody forces Janie to wear a kerchief to suppress her youth, gender, and individuality. Doing this further pushes the idea that Janie is nothing but an extension to Jody. Janie, as Jody grows old, finally comes out about how he has treated her and how she very much hates it, but in doing this it enrages the older man, which does not end well as he dies not long afterward.

A little while later after the death of Jody, she decides to rack up with a man named Tea Cake. Doing this the community pushes on Janie, but she ignores the gossip that comes along with her wanting to do her own thing, wear her own clothes, and when she wants to do what she wants to do. In her new relationship, she starts pulling away further from the conformity of her partner and his ideas along with everyone else’s on what’s appropriate for her. Janie finally snaps from all of the tension from society’s expectation and Janie’s own ideals when she is forced into an altercation with Tea Cake. The choice comes down to killing Tea Cake for her freedom of continuing to follow by society’s standards. She chooses the latter of the two and kills Tea Cake, which finalizes her freedom and independence.

To sum up and close, in the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” written by Zora Neale Hurston, a conflict builds between Janie wanting individuality and also having to deal with others outward societal conformity. This tension and conflict stem from her journey into self-actualization, and society’s standards that her husbands and grandmother along with the society have placed on her.

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“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

In this romantic tale composed by Zora Neale Hurston, we discover that the primary character, Janie saw her life as an extraordinary tree loaded with numerous hardships. “Their eyes were watching God” was composed of a lady’s perspective to recount the tale of a lady urgently hunting down intimate romance and satisfaction. Janie Crawford grew up with her grandma who constrained her to wed at seventeen years old to guarantee a superior life for herself. Logan Killicks was a setup potato rancher, and he was more than twice Janie’s age. He utilized her for subjugation yet Janie declined to acknowledge this way of life. Multi-day she met a tall good-looking man name Joe Starks and kept running off with him to Florida. There are many literary elements the author Zora Neale Hurston used in her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” the main ones are tone, symbolism and point of view. Hurston’s tone is one of profound gratefulness and upbeat festival of the extravagance of African-American culture. She portrays her characters as having an entire scope of flaws, but additionally recovering traits. As it were, these characters are absolutely three-dimensional, and you don’t need to wear senseless glasses keeping in mind the end goal to appreciate the show. Numerous scenes harp on brilliant stories and fun-loving discussions among neighbors in dark networks. Despite the fact that the dark vernacular is to a greater degree an elaborate decision than one of tone, it is exceptionally nearness demonstrates that Hurston thought about it something super unique. More than anything, Hurston’s content is empathetic toward the majority of its characters.

In spite of the fact that Janie denounces a few characters for their indefensible sins, the content sets aside the opportunity to clarify the mindset of each significant character giving peruses the setting important to comprehend why each character goes about as he or she does. Peruses can see the regularly intelligent (and sincerely moving) inspirations for each character’s activities. The grave and profuse tone of the chose section from Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, is appeared through its general phrasing and symbolism. Hurston utilizes skillfully picked words to improve the symbolism, and the two gadgets add to the tone of this scene. The dismal and the unreserved tone can be found in this entry, which likewise happens to be the peak of the novel in which Hurston gives the peruse a sensational picture of Tea Cake’s passing scene. Hurston’s selection of words and sentences will help in making the symbolism. In the principal section, she depicts how Tea Cake folded at his projectile and how Janie pried her better half’s teeth from her arm after he slammed forward in her arms.

She additionally starts the second passage by saying it was the meanest snapshot of endlessness and how Janie yielded herself with Tea Cake’s head in her lap. The saying of Janie’s forfeit is urgent to this scene. Despite the fact that Tea Cake treated her superior to anything her pasts spouses, the demonstration of Janie shooting Tea Cake demonstrates her recently picked up opportunity and autonomy. Through the course of the story, Janie sees the skyline in a faraway place that is inside sight however, are never fully feasible. As she travels through the course of her life, connections, and self-improvement, she maintains her emphasis coming soon. When she meets and weds Joe Starks, he interests her as a result of his political yearnings and appeal. These qualities influenced her to trust they could achieve the skyline.

Janie pulled back quite a while on the grounds that he didn’t speak to sun-up and dust and blossoming trees, however, he represented far skyline. In spite of the fact that he spoke to change and a photo culminate picture to whatever is left of the world, the same was not valid for Janie. She didn’t achieve the skyline since Sparks saw her more than an ownership than an accomplice. The pear tree draws in with the honey bees in a way that goes up against the majority of the qualities and imagery of sexual love. Janie thinks about the tree and the honey bees in the wake of giving a kid a chance to kiss her as a young person. She saw a residue bearing honey bee sink into the sanctum of a sprout; the thousand sister-calyxes curve to meet the adoration grasp and the joyful shudder of the tree from root to the littlest branch creaming in each bloom and foaming with enchant. “So this was a marriage!” In any case, in her first marriage, the picture of the pear tree is defined in light of the fact that the association winds up being cold and without energy.

Appearances matter a considerable measure to Janie’s significant other, Joe. To control the view of the network, Joe orders Janie to keep her hair tied up and satisfactory openly. Janie’s hair has the surface of the Caucasian hair, which furnishes her with some clout in the network since it was not the same as theirs. When Joe kicks the bucket, Janie pulverizes the ties that he made her wear amid their 20 long stretches of marriage as a show of freedom. Starting there on, she kept her hair in a long plait that contacted her midsection and overlooked the town chatter. As the previous leader’s significant other, the townspeople need to keep on putting her in a container, yet Janie needs more from life than to be Joe’s dowager. “What DAT ole multi-year ole ‘Oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some youthful lady?”(Hurston95) say the patio sitters. Janie never again minds what they think. The hurricane symbolizes the almighty power of nature, which trumps even the most serious efforts of intensity by people, for example, Jody’s damaging requirement for control, or Mrs. Turner’s feeling of a racial progressive system, or Tea Cake’s physical quality. While the pear tree, additionally a representative component in nature, symbolizes the possibility of concordance amongst people and nature, amongst sex and love the typhoon symbolizes the foolishness of nature and its definitive dismissal for human needs.

It is amid the novel’s climactic storm scene that Janie, Tea Cake, and Motor Boat examine the presence of God most expressly without precedent for the novel, scrutinizing his reality and regardless of whether he even thinks about people on the off chance that he does, actually, exist. The point of view in “Their Eyes Was Watching God” seems to switch from First Person to Third Person at different times throughout the entire story. At times, Janie is telling us the story first-hand as she experienced it, the first person. But at other times the story is being told through Janie’s thoughts and gives her perspective on things the third person. It even switches from first-person to third-person and back to first-person even within the paragraphs. Though the novel is described in the third individual, by a storyteller who uncovers the characters’ considerations and intentions, the vast majority of the story is confined as Janie recounting a story to Pheoby. The outcome is a storyteller who isn’t precisely Janie however who is preoccupied with her. Janie’s character resounds in the folksy dialect and representations that the storyteller in some cases employment. Likewise, a significant part of the content relishes in the instantaneousness of exchange. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel is a classic.

Their Eyes Were Watching God was Zora Neale Hurston’s second novel written in 1936 and distributed in 1937. In spite of the fact that it was frequently connected with the Harlem Renaissance and was scrutinized by numerous Harlem Renaissance authors.Their Eyes Were Watching God was initially discharged, it wasn’t especially famous among the African American community. A great part of the little consideration the novel at first got was negative feedback made fundamentally by male scholars of the Harlem Renaissance period. What might be the most noteworthy, and absolutely the harshest, of these reactions originated from creator Richard Wright who composed a survey of the novel in New Masses an American Marxist Magazine Their Eyes Were Watching God had a little accomplishment amid Hurston’s lifetime, leaving the print in the late 60s, around 30 years after It’s underlying discharge.

A lot of this disappointment may have been because of the at first negative surveys from Harlem Renaissance essayists which eclipsed the standard audits and corrupted general impression of the novel. In 1971 Their Eyes was returned to print quickly before it left print again in 1975. Today, Their Eyes Were Watching God’s impact is across the board as it is known to be Zora Neale Hurston’s most prevalent work. Regardless of it is at first poor gathering from the African American people group, Their Eyes has come to be perceived as an amazingly powerful and complex piece that stands as a fundamental piece of the American abstract ordinance.

In conclusion, Zora Neale Hurston exercised many forms of literary devices throughout the story. She used these devices to make her story really stand out. In those times people didn’t appreciate the arts from an African American woman. Today her work is appreciated and people really commend her for the way she wrote. Her work is being read everywhere despite all the trials and tribulations she has faced throughout her lifetime.

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The Novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

In “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, there are many recurring symbols throughout the telling of Janie’s journey to find love. Symbols often help reveal things about the characters or themes and through the story and they often help drive the storyline along. The use of imagery and motifs not only help to amplify the interest of the reader, but also to elaborate and clarify concepts that show up again and again in Janie’s southern love story with Johnny, Logan, Joe, and most importantly Tea Cake.

In the novel, Hurston describes the horizon as possibilities and opportunities. When the story starts out Janie’s perception of the horizon changes first from desire for love to the need of love, and ultimately the feeling of contentment towards love to show Janie maturing throughout the novel. The symbols that are most apparent throughout the story, are Janie‘s wishes and dreams of love and freedom.

These aspirations started at a young age and are put into an image of a pear tree on the horizon. The pear tree motif is introduced early in Janie’s story. As a sixteen-year-old girl, lying beneath a pear tree in the spring, she watches a bee gathering pollen from a pear blossom. The experience becomes a symbol to Janie of the ideal relationship, one in which passion does not result in possession or domination, but rather in an effortless union of individuals. Pursuing her dream of love, Janie sat under the pear tree and saw Johnny Taylor walk by, she perceives this as an open door to find love: “in her former blindness she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes”. She then saw him as the first rock on her path to find true love.

The imagery of the horizon is used so that the reader can see what Janie’s is feeling while reading the story. “The biggest thing God ever made, the horizon–for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you”.  The symbol of the horizon is perfect because the horizon is always far away. No matter where you are, it’s always too far to touch, but never too far to see. Jamie’s life remains on the horizon, she hopes and dreams that true love will come, but in all reality she ends up with an abusive and possessive husband that her grandmother picked out for her. But that is not the end of Janie’s quest for love.

As Janie was sitting outside dreaming of true love a man named Joe was walking and yes, he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees” , but he did offer her the opportunity for a new life, one that she hoped would be better. Soon, Janie realises that “the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another.took the bloom off of things”.  She realized that Joe was not her dream, but she stuck with it anyway. She became discouraged, but then her husband Joe dies and ironically, she is actually quite happy about it.

After her second husband’s death, Janie meets Tea Cake, the true fulfillment of her dream under the pear tree, he was her road to finally reaching the horizon. “He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossom–a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps.”  Tea Cake was Janie’s dream, he was what she had been looking for. Ever since when she first realized what love really was when she was sixteen, under that little pear tree.

Janie, Tea Cake, and their friends can only look on in terror as the hurricane destroys the structure of their lives and leaves them to rebuild as best they can. A pivotal event in the novel, the hurricane marks an abrupt transition from Janie’s idyllic life with Tea Cake. After the storm strikes, events rush rapidly to Tea Cake’s death and the novel’s conclusion.

Throughout the story Janie’s need for love continues to grow stronger as she continues to grow older, because of the multiple failed relationships that have made her look at the horizon and wonder how things would be if her dreams become reality. Her dreams will always be beyond the horizon, but that does not mean she’ll ever stopped trying to reach it.

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The American Dream in and Their Eyes Were Watching God

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Since America’s formation, the meaning of the “American Dream” has changed vastly. One version of this prospect is shown in And Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel set in late 1800’s America. It follows Janie Starks, a mixed woman who is trying to find her own version of the American Dream. Janie attempts to pursue the American Dream by searching for true love and independence; even being set back due to race and gender, she ultimately achieves her goals.

Janie’s version of the American Dream is to be able to find a love in which she is able to freely and fully love someone. In the second chapter, Janie notices a bee pollinating a pear tree, and reacts to it with, “So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation.” She sees love as a mutual relationship in which both counterparts are able to put in equal effort and respect. This is further shown when she says in the next chapter, “But Nanny, Ah wants to want him sometimes. Ah don’t want him to do all de wantin’.” Her dream is finding a partner who she is on equal footing with, one who is able to see eye-to-eye with her and who loves her as a person.

Janie’s pursuit of the American Dream changes throughout the book. At first, she attempts to pursue it when, “Through pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road. In her former blindness she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes.” She is ignorant to the fact that love is more than just finding someone to give affection and expecting them to see her in the same light. Throughout Janie’s experiences with her first two husbands, her hope of experiencing her idea of love is diminished by her husbands’ controlling and degrading natures. However, her method of pursuit changes once again when she meets Tea Cake. In chapter twelve, Janie states, “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.” Tea Cake, in a metaphorical sense, shows Janie a world of colors. One in which she has found someone who truly loves her and that she truly loves back. Therefore, she pursues Tea Cake instead by running away from her old life and into a new life where she has someone who respects her for who she is and treats her as an equal.

Some obstacles Janie faces in her pursuit of the American dream is encountering those who degrade people based on gender and race. In chapter five, when townspeople are gossiping about Janie, they wonder, “Whut make her keep her head tied up lak some ole ‘oman round de store? Nobody couldn’t Bit me tuh tie no rag on mah head if Ah had hair lak dat. Maybe he make her do it.” Throughout Janie and Jody’s relationship, the author makes it clear that Jody expects her to be silent and obedient due to her being a woman. The fact that he makes her tie up her hair is reminiscent of this fact, as her tying up her hair symbolizes her loss of freedom due to Jody’s desire to keep up her respectful and proper image as a woman. Also, Janie experiences blunt racism from Mrs. Tucker, a white woman who expresses her contempt for African-Americans with, “Ah jus’ couldn’t see mahself married to no black man. It’s too many black folks already. We oughta lighten up de race.” She then goes on to say Janie should marry her light-skinned brother due to Janie’s Caucasian features. This personally affects Janie not only because it insults her partially African-American heritage, but also because her husband, Tea Cake, is significantly more dark-skinned, and Mrs. Tucker’s words are a direct insult to him. These obstacles serve as a representation of something all women and people of color experienced at the time.

Janie succeeds in finding the American Dream in the sense she finds true love and eventual peace in independence. At the end of chapter thirteen, Janie realizes she has found happiness in love with, “He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.” She is finally able to open herself up to Tea Cake and love him, as he doesn’t make her stand beneath her, but stands beside her as a partner. This is what Janie dreamt of for so long, a relationship in which mutual respect and effort was given. This is where Janie finds her independence as well, in a partner that allowed her to be herself. She is also able to find joy in her independence at the end of the book. The final chapter states, “The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace.” Janie is at peace even after Tea Cake’s passing due to the fact she was able to successfully find her own version of the American Dream, which was her ability to express herself with Tea Cake, and truly and fully love him.

While it is a long and grueling process, Janie finds her own version of true love and independence. This truly expresses the idea of the American Dream by showing that despite major setbacks someone might experience, it is still possible to push through struggles to a brighter future. This serves as a reminder to we Americans that we are able to do the exact same—that the true American Dream is the ability to make a life for yourself, and to be yourself while doing so.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God: a Novel Based on Real Events

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Hurston Discussion Board

Zora Neal Hurston incorporated many of her real life experiences into her masterful work Their Eyes Were Watching God. Many instances of overlap from Hurston’s life into her novel were revealed through research into her biography. Hurston was headstrong and determined just as Janie was throughout the novel. Three notable similarities between Hurston and her novel were that she lived in Eatonville, Florida, she lost her mother at a young age, and she possessed youthful, infectious good looks.

A large portion of Their Eyes Were Watching God took place in Eatonville, Florida, where Hurston spent much of her childhood. Eatonville was the first self-governing all black town in the United States and Hurston moved there when she was just a toddler. Black citizens got to decide much of how the town came together and was run, and both Janie and Hurston had someone close to them who played a part in the building of Eatonville. Janie witnessed her husband’s influence on the town while Hurston witnessed her father’s. Hurston described the erection of Eatonville in her novel and Janie’s time spent there and by doing so, connected it to her own history and experiences.

Janie lost contact with her mother early in life, saying “she was gone from round dere long before Ah wuz big enough tuh know” (Hurston 10). Janie’s mother did not pass away, but apparently disappeared after a traumatic Janie’s grandmother tells her about. Hurston lost her mother in real life as well at the young age of thirteen. As Hurston experienced a life without her mother, so did Janie in her novel. This similarity is a saddening one, but it shows more correlation between Hurston’s real life and the ones she wrote down.

One last notable similarity between Hurston and Their Eyes Were Watching God is the possession of striking good looks held by her main character and Hurston herself. Janie’s looks were regarded repeatedly throughout the novel. In one instance it was said of Janie, “The men noticed her firm buttocks…the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume…her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt” (Hurston 2-3). Throughout all stages of Janie’s life, she remained an object of fascination and beauty. Hurston also possessed notable good looks herself. In fact, in order to qualify for free public schooling, Hurston, at the age of 26, subtracted ten years from her birthdate and passed as a decade younger than she was for the remainder of her life. Photographs of Hurston show that she indeed was beautiful, just as Janie was in her novel.


Love was one of the most prominent themes in Janie’s life. Her early life begins wrapped in her grandmother’s fierce love which eventually leads to her first marriage. Janie searches for love within her first marriage, but unable to find it she resolves to run away with her second husband, Joe. Her marriage with Joe did not result in the love she thought it would bring. Joe’s treatment of Janie squandered any hope of love the two could have shortly after their wedding. With Joe’s passing, however, Janie did begin to love and respect herself. It was only with Tea Cake that she experienced the love she had been searching for her whole life. It was in Janie’s third marriage that she was happiest and most content, and even with Tea Cake’s passing Janie continued to live on the with hope and peace that her love with Tea Cake had brought her.

Loss of Identity

Janie did not know it when she ran away with Joe, but when she signed the marriage papers she also signed away her identity. Throughout her years with Joe, he stripped away countless pieces of her identity. She was no longer herself, but Joe’s trophy wife. He wanted her on a pedestal for everyone in the town to look at. She was to be envied, not interacted with. Joe began this attack on Janie’s identity by telling her to wrap her trademark feature away, her hair. He then began limiting the activities she could participate in and the people she could interact with. She was just an object to Joe. Her mind held no value to him. Even as Joe was on his deathbed, Janie exclaimed, “You done lived wid me for twenty years and you don’t half know me atall” (Hurston 102). The gradual loss of identity and abuse Janie endured was hard to read. It was redeeming to see Janie reclaim her identity with Tea Cake.

Growth and Change

Janie experiences many changes throughout her story and by the end of the novel is a very different person from the 16-year-old girl to whom we were first introduced. For the majority of Janie’s life, she was under someone’s rule. Whether it be her Nanny, Logan Killicks, or Joe Stark, Janie lived largely in submission. After Joe’s death, Janie experienced a strange freedom that she had never known. She reveled in her freedom and the newfound loneliness that she enjoyed. This growth allowed her to open up to Tea Cake and his love for her. She was able to push past much of the abuse Logan and Joe had put her through and live a new life. Janie changes for the better and learns to truly accept herself.

Mental Abuse

Janie’s marriage with Joe was the most hurtful relationship she endured. Joe constantly berated her, put her down, and insulted her. His words knew no bounds- especially in the presence of others. Joe would spitefully comment on Janie’s appearance or actions in front of others in order to push attention away from himself. His sexist attitude prevented Janie from doing countless things she wanted too. He was also jealous of Janie to the point he would not tolerate her wearing her hair down. Within her marriage to Joe, Janie’s spirit wilted and grew dusty. When Joe slapped Janie the first time, “something fell off the shelf inside her…it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams.” Janie suffered Joe’s mental, emotional, and physical abuse for 20 years, and even during the cold sweat of death he continued to fight her. It was only after Joe’s death and Janie’s budding relationship with Tea Cake that she began to shed the burden of Joe’s abuse.

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A Connection of Their Eyes Were Watching God with Bible

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer


Their eyes were watching is a story of Janie Crawford such for love. As told in the form of frame, Janie makes a return journey to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, after being absent for nearly two years. Her neighbors are eager to know where she had been and what has occurred to her. They are shocked to see her come back in dirty overalls when she left in clean bridal satin. Janie narrates her story to Phoebe Watson and after the story is over, the novelist returns back to Janie’s back steps. Hence the story which in reality spans for almost forty years in Janie’s being is ‘framed’ by a sunset visit involving two friends.

Phoebe Watson is Janie’s greatest friend and confidante. The whole book is a description of Janie’s life narrative, as told by Phoebe. Janie adores Phoebe for her unbolt ear and her non hypocritical attitude. She is actually the channel Janie needs to expel her feelings regarding Joe Starks, marriage and tea cake. Phoebe defends Janie’s behavior and takes a contemporary standpoint- that Janie is her lady and has a firm ground behind all her deeds. As a friend, Phoebe’s loyalty is moving and manipulates to readers to perceive Janie in a positive light.

Phoebe is compared to characters in the bible, both in the New Testament and the Old Testament. For instance, Phoebe is seen as a companion to Janie Crawford. Phoebe’s lone purpose in Hurston’s story is to act as a confidante to Janie. She is the compassionate ear to which Janie is able to pour her entire feelings and emotions into. Phoebe’s motive is totally unselfish. She is inaudibly certain that Janie will talk to her and clarify what took place during the past one year and a half. Phoebe welcomes her pal with the gift of foodstuff. Janie tells Phoebe that Tea Cake did not run off with the cash that Joe left her. She further tells Phoebe that the money is safe in the bank and that Tea Cake had died. Janie then informs Phoebe about the months she had spent with Tea Cake. All these happen after Janie has had enough resting and soothing of feet. (Hurston 6). Phoebe’s actions toward Janie are a clear indication of how she is the best companion for Janie after her comeback given that she was away for one and a half years. Phoebe can be compared with Mary in the bible, the virgin mother of Jesus and then wife of Joseph. Mary humbles herself and accepts to be a companion to Joseph despite all the public humiliation and danger that would follow. Mary accepts to be married to a carpenter who was seen to be a poor man. This clearly defines how Mary is humbled and a true companion to Joseph. (Mathew 1)

In addition, Phoebe is compared with Moses in the bible since they both come out to be compassionate and mediators between two people. In the narrative, Phoebe defends Janie to the porch sitters. She definitely believes that Janie does not have to share any of her private dealings with them. She makes an assumption that Janie is hungry and thereafter she volunteers to find Janie a port of mullet rice. She then finds her way through the darkness to Janie’s back steps. (Hurston 7). By comparison, Moses is seen as a hesitant redeemer of Israel in it migration from oppression to the Promised Land. Moses is seen as the mediator between Israel and the people, transforming the Israelites from a demoralized ethnic cluster into a land founded on spiritual laws. His celebrated miracles before pharaoh make him a great conqueror of the Old Testament.

Moreover, Phoebe is seen to be rational. She acts as a legal voice of rationale, presenting all of community’s norms not in a negative critical light but as they were supposed to be balanced prescriptions to keep women out of danger. Phoebe stood up sharply so as to protect Janie from those who were forcing her to narrate what had happened to her while she was away. Phoebe insisted that it was not their business to know Janie’s private affairs. (Hurston 6)Her reasoning was tending to present the society’s norms that go around protecting women from danger. In the bible Abraham is also seen to be rational. He is presenting the beliefs of the society as per the ancient days. Abraham practices the monotheistic adoration of God and he has a strong faith in his creator despite the many challenges he is facing. His faith sets the pattern for the Israelites religious view of righteousness.

On the other hand, Phoebe is identified to be non judgmental. She gives Janie a benefit of doubt at the time when the townspeople are gossiping fiercely about Janie. She becomes an audience to Janie’s story and her being there is irregularly felt in the informal speech that the narrator mixes in with a more complicated narrative style. Phoebe is also the channel Janie needs to expel her emotions and feelings about Joe Starks, marriage and Tea Cake. Unlike much of Eatonville, she defends Janie and takes a very contemporary stand. In the bible, Job remains truthful to God even with all the suffering he is undergoing. The topic of God and Satan’s immense experiment is to determine human faithfulness to God amidst of intense pain. Job scorns poor nutrition and the recommendations of his friend’s instead of questioning God’s role in human suffering. Job hesitates to make a final judgment on God since he has a strong faith on him. This clearly compares him to Phoebe in the story their eyes were watching God.

Another trait that is comparable to a trait in the bible is curiosity. According to the story their eyes were watching, (Hurston 10) Phoebe is eagerly waiting to listen to Janie’s story concerning her past.

They sat there in the fresh young darkness close together. Phoebe eager to feel and do through Janie, But hating to show her zest for fear it might be thought mere curiosity. Janie full of that oldest human longing self revelation, Phoebe held her tongue for time but she couldn’t help moving her feet

Phoebe’s curiosity makes learn that Tea Cake had died. She is even more curious to know why Tea Cake died. In the bible story, Eve became curious to know the Kind of fruit they were prohibited from eating. Satan in the form of a snake appeared to Eve and urged her to try the forbidden fruit. Satan convinced Eve that upon eating the fruit, they would become as wise as God. Due to curiosity, Eve went ahead and consumed the forbidden fruit. Eve also went and convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Eventually, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. All these actions were out of curiosity. They therefore had to face the consequences of being disobedient to God.

Phoebe is also seen to be very ambitious. At the end of the novel, Phoebe tells us that the story of Janie has made her grow ten taller and encouraged her to go fishing. Due to responsibilities of marriage, Phoebe is not able venture the way Janie does. Phoebe represents the audience; just as Janie tell her story to Phoebe. Hurston, through Phoebe expresses her desire for the readers of the story to be mobilized into action through Janie’s story the same way Phoebe has been. In the bible, David is identified to be as ambitious as well. His is known for facing the giant Goliath and bringing him down with a sling and a stone. He is remembered for showing a high level of ambitions by writing several psalms. His ambitions enable him to be recognized as one of the most prominent kings of Israel, one of the greatest men who ever came into being. David also had an ambition to bring the Arc of Covenant to the capital of Jerusalem. The Arc of Covenant was Gods symbol in Israel. It had been long awaited for. When David brings it to Jerusalem, he achieves his ambition of unifying religious and political life of Israel in the Promised Land.

Another comparison between Phoebe and the characters in the bible is based on the act of caring for each other. Phoebe really shows a great concern when Janie arrives after one and a half year of disappearance. Phoebe ensures that she goes to get Janie something for her stomach.(Hurston 7) She does it hurriedly having in mind Janie’s situation.

Phoebe hurried on off with an enclosed bowl on her hands. She left the verandah pelting her back with unasked questions. They hoped the answers were harsh and strange. When she arrived at the place, Phoebe didn’t go in by the front entry and down the palm walk to the front entrance. She went around the hedge corner and went in the closed gate with a plate full of mullet rice.

In the bible, God is noted as the most caring being. He is the creator of the world and the most powerful being. According to the bible, God cares for his creation by offering protection to human beings. In the Old Testament, God intervened to those who believed in him during wars and times of difficulties. He manifested himself in the form of an angel, fire, wrestler and a silent whisper. God also cared for his people during hunger. He provides for the Israelites by providing manner and water when they were starving. As the figurehead of the Israelites and force behind every event, God reveals his plans by speaking to the people. His physical manifestations are not direct. We are reminded that the Lord is our shepherd for we shall not want. (Psalm 23)

Phoebe Is Janie’s best friend in Eatonville. Phoebe tries to understand Janie’s situation at the time when every member of the town is seriously gossiping about her. Phoebe pays keen attention to Janie’s story. This is evident in the colloquial speech that the narrator mixes with the complicated narrative styles. (Hurston 7). According to the bible, Jesus had a very close friend who was among his disciples. Jesus and the disciple John were essentially best friends. Jesus entrusted him with the care of his mother. He also gave John the apparition of transfiguration and allowed him to watch his wonderful miracles. Jesus later on gave John the book of revelation. It is only the gospel of John that mentions the disciple whom Jesus loved. This clearly indicates how much Jesus and John were great friends. Apostle John is seen to be the longest living disciple according to the early church doctrine in the bible. This to Some extent may also show us how much Jesus and John were great friends.

Furthermore, Phoebe is seen as a very reasonable being. She makes good reasoning at the time when Janie comes back in a dirty overall. Phoebe ensures that Janie is not humiliated by the public at the time she arrives. She defends Janie by telling the crowd that it is none of their business trying to find out what took place to Janie at the time when she was away. Janie goes round with a heaped plate of mullet rice looking for Janie. After she finds her, Janie eats as she gives her audience. It would be very unreasonable for Janie to be left eating alone without any company. Phoebe at least tries to make Janie comfortable at the place. She allows Janie to clean herself and have soothing of foot before taking supper. This shows how much Phoebe is reasonable regarding Janie’s situation. In the bible, Noah is also seen to be very reasonable enough. He builds an arc to save the animal population and human race from destruction. He initially makes a decision to inform the human race about the coming rains that would cause floods. Noah therefore forms the first attempt of God to form a covenant with one person through him.

Phoebe can be identified to be very unselfish according to the story their eyes were watching God. She shows this by giving a warm welcome to Janie when she comes back home after Tea Cakes death. Phoebe takes the whole responsibility of preparing food for Janie. This is a clear indication that Phoebe is very generous and understands every person’s situation. According to the bible, Abraham comes out to be very unselfish. This is shown when he offers to sacrifice his only son Isaac as asked by God. He tricks his son and finally he reaches the alter where he is to sacrifice his only son. He attempts to carry out a procedure that many people cannot afford to do. Abraham is stopped by an angel of God upon lifting the knife to sacrifice his only son. This is also a clear indication of how strong Abraham’s faith was.

On the other hand, the story brings Phoebe out as very irresponsible. She cannot get married since she fears the responsibility associated with marriage. This shows us that she is not ready for any responsibility relating to family affairs. The author informs us that Phoebe cannot afford to be married as Janie since she fears responsibility. According to the bible, David comes out to be very irresponsible at the time when he was the king. He sleeps with Bathsheba who was already married. This according to the bible is considered to be adultery. The end result of King David’s act led to the birth of Solomon who also later becomes a very wise and successful king.

Phoebe can also be said to be very interactive. She talks a lot with those who are trying to humiliate Janie at the time when she is back after Tea Cakes death. She interacts fully with the people and warns them against humiliating Phoebe who came back in a dirty overall. (Hurston 7). Phoebe also participates when Janie is narrating her story to her. This is evident by the occasional colloquial expressions shown by the author in between other aspects of literature. Phoebe’s interaction with Janie enables her to know what Janie went through during her disappearance period. (Hurston 8). In the bible, Job is also seen to be very interactive. He interacts with the devil, God and his friends. During the time that Job was being put into temptation, he interacted with the devil that was encouraging him to curse God. The devil informed him that his god was so uncaring and that was the reason behind his suffering. His friends too interacted with him while giving him their pieces of advice. Job also interacted with God while asking him the reason why he had to undergo such suffering. This clearly shows how much Job was interactive. Therefore, Phoebe and Job are seen to have one character trait in common.

Finally, Phoebe is described to be intelligent. This is because she is able to remember the narration she was told by Janie. She there after narrates the whole story of Janie’s life. This indicates her level of remembering events and happenings. Phoebe is intelligent enough to make wise decision when Janie arrives. She saves her from public humiliation and hunger. In the bible, God is identified to be the most intelligent of all beings. It is because of his intelligence that he created the world in a uniform way out of a deformed figure. God’s intelligence is also seen when He advices Noah to build an arc at the time when God destroyed the earth. God’s intelligence is also evident in the bible when He sent His son Jesus to save the world from sins. He sent his son who was to shed blood so as to save the world from satanic ways. God also sent manner and water to the Israelites to save them from hunger. It is because of His intelligence that He them a leader who was to help them come out of captivity into the Promised Land. In the bible, God created the world in an orderly manner and to perfection. He created different things on different specific days and had one day to rest. It is because of His intelligence that he allocated six working days to man and one day of resting. Therefore God is generally said to be the source of intelligence on earth. No any other creature can reach His intelligence since He is also the giver

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Representation of the 1920s and 1930s Period in the U.s. in Their Eyes Were Watching God

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

The 1920’s and 1930’s were a time of great change. Progressive reforms embodied the nation’s growing sense of social responsibility and economic policies led a booming economy to come crashing down. The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston portrays this time period clearly and shows certain aspects of this time period that conventional historical studies do not.

The Great Depression was the hardest time economically for many nations in modern history. Begun in the United States after the stock market collapsed, the depression soon spread all over the world. “Black Tuesday,” the day when the stock market crashed, occurred on October 29th, 1929. The end of the Great Depression varies from after FDR’s economic reform took place to the building up of WWII, depending on the source.

The causes of the Great Depression were both diverse and numerous. The stock market crash of 1929 was a major cause. This event plunged us into the economic hardship. Bank failures also drastically hurt America. During the 1930’s, over 9,000 banks failed (Top 5 causes of the Great Depression). The banks who managed to survive were fearful of lending money to investors, which hurt the economy to an even greater extent. Just as banks began to not give out as much money, consumers also began to buy less. With a smaller demand for items, there was also a smaller demand for jobs, raising unemployment. A new system of purchasing in installments had arisen in the 1920’s and now many people were unable to keep up with their payments. The ratio of supply and demand was now dangerously unbalanced.

America’s foreign policy also exacerbated the economic problems. In 1930, the Hawley-Smoot Tariff was passed. This was a high protective tariff, lessening trade with foreign countries (Top 5 Causes of the Great Depression). The drastic drought that occurred in the Mississippi Valley in 1930 only worsened the situation. Many farmers became unable to support themselves and had to sell their farms.

Herbert Hoover was elected the 31st president in 1928 with a great majority of electoral votes. Unluckily for Hoover, the economic meltdown occurred 8 months into his presidency. Hoover was seen as cold and uncaring by the public because of his economic policies. He stuck to his principles in not giving money directly to the people. He believed that this practice would make the public dependent on government hand-outs (pros 129). Instead of proposing direct welfare, Hoover initiated some government relief plans, cut taxes significantly, and supported several acts lending money to banks. (pros 129). Most of all, Hoover believed optimism was essential to recovery, which led him to announce to the American public that the hard times were over in the depths of the depression. Altogether, Hoover was an extremely ineffective president.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected the 32nd president on a wave of anti-Hoover enthusiasm. Roosevelt helped the nation to recover and move through the Great Depression though government action and optimism. During his inaugural speech, Roosevelt told the nation that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Within his first 100 days in office, Roosevelt made many changes to agriculture, business and relief to the unemployed, according to his “New Deal.” When faced with criticism, Roosevelt responded with higher taxes on the rich, more control of banks, social security and work relief programs. Roosevelt’s policies’ success has been highly debated and cannot be seen as simply good or bad. Roosevelt was the only president to ever serve more than two terms. (Biography of Franklin D. Roosevelt)

The Harlem Renaissance was a major presence during this time period. This movement was an intellectual blooming of the African American community, or as Alain Locke said, a “Spiritual Coming of Age” for the black community (Harlem Renaissance). This institution took place in Harlem, New York during the 1920’s.

This renaissance began for many reasons. These included the high amount of racism present in America and the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern cities. Prosperity was flowing during the early 1920’s and African Americans wanted to get their share. Many turned to literature and other creative pathways to achieve this success. African American writers began to cherish and celebrate their own heritage for the first time in African American history. Alain Locke correctly portrayed the sentiment among these authors when he stated that the Harlem Renaissance turned “social disillusionment to race pride.” (Harlem Renaissance)This time period helped to bring about a new black cultural identity and to change race shame to pride.

Among leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, one of the most influential was Alain Locke. Locke was born September 13, 1885 in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard and was the first African American Rhodes Scholar. Over the course of his life, he taught at Howard University while working on many different thesis and books. Probably his most well know book, The New Negro, was published in 1925. This great work deeply inspired the Harlem Renaissance, and also Zora Neale Hurston. His philosophy in the New Negro was based in the concept of “race-building.” (Alain Locke). Locke taught both self-confidence and political awareness. Locke’s work helped to inspire many African Americans to claim equality and, fair treatment.

Another very important leader involved with the Harlem Renaissance was W.E.B. DuBois. One of DuBois’ greatest accomplishments was to help found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in America. DuBois spoke passionately about race affairs, both in writing and during speeches. He was also an editor of “The Crisis,” an African American magazine of the time (W.E.B. DuBois). W.E.B. DuBois was an inspiring force behind the Harlem Renaissance.

The revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920’s greatly shaped the race relations of this time. The Klan was founded in 1866 in Georgia but had slowly faded from its original power. With the year 1915 came a great revival of the Klan and with it racism and nativism. The Klan had spread all across the nation by this time with as many members as two million men (“The KKK Expands Throughout the Nation” 60-65). The organization had originally been founded after the Civil War to terrorize former slaves but now, due to the recent influx of immigrants, harassed blacks, Roman Catholics, Jews, and other immigrants. The Klan even gained substantial control of local governments and many politicians were members of the Klan. The Klan’s legacy was to help support and prolong Jim Crow Laws and segregation.

One of the greatest scandals of its day, the Sacco and Vanzetti trial was a blatant representation of nativism and the improper use of the justice system. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and confirmed anarchists. In early 1920, they both were arrested for the alleged robbery and murder of a shoe company paymaster (“Anti-Immigrant Feelings in the Early 1920s” 58). The trial began in May of 1920. Although the state prosecution was unable to prove conclusive guilt, Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted and sentenced to death in July, 1921.

Many people claimed that Sacco and Vanzetti were being prosecuted for their anarchist beliefs and their nationality. Although many different groups objected, Sacco and Vanzetti were finally executed on August 22, 1927. Unfortunately, this trial had a much greater effect than expected as many people lost faith in the American justice system.

Prohibition was one of the most controversial acts ever ratified by the government. In 1920, the 18th amendment was passed which banned the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption nationally. This almost socialist policy was supported vehemently many diverse groups of Americans, ranging from the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and many religious denominations, to the KKK.

The reasons for prohibition are very complex and numerous. Socially, alcohol consumption hurt many families because of alcoholism and the cost of alcohol. Politically, many politicians gained support by promising to support prohibition. Prohibition was also seen as good for the economy since many workers came to work drunk, hindering efficiency. Health effects of alcohol also had an effect on the issue (Prohibition in the United States). Sadly, prohibition did not stop alcohol consumption altogether but merely gave money to “bootleggers.” Mafia crime succeeded extremely well because of prohibition. The 18th amendment was later repealed with the ratification of the 21st Amendment in 1933.

The historical surroundings of Their Eyes Were Watching God give a good insight into the novel. By exploring the roles expected of these characters, much can be perceived about their personalities. New ideas about social reasonability took the form of progressive reforms. Attitudes were changing along with African Americans’ and womens’ roles. The flowering of African American culture known as the Harlem Renaissance also influenced self perception of the characters in the novel. At the same time, an upsurge of racism and nativism affected all people of color living in this country. Probably most important of all, the economic depression that the nation faced was the most daunting economic obstacle to date. Unemployment and loss of opportunities affected everyone around the nation.

Their Eyes Were Watching God was written by Zora Neale Hurston in 1937. It follows the story of Janie Crawford through Janie’s autobiographical account to her friend Pheoby. The story is a journey of self discovery and spiritual fulfillment for Janie while fighting society’s expectations of her. Janie’s journey takes her through three husbands and all across the southern United States, and most importantly of all, down to her very identity.

The story begins with a tired and disheartened Janie Crawford returning to Eatonville after a substantial absence. As she returns to her old house, an old friend, Pheoby, comes by to ask about Janie’s story and to tell the town the newest gossip. Janie agrees to tell Pheoby her whole story, starting from when she was a child.

Janie has been raised by her grandmother who works as a nanny for a white family. Janie grew up playing with the white children and didn’t even realize her own ethnicity until she saw herself in a photograph.

As a teenager, Janie wonders about love and marriage and how the two are related. Her grandmother soon convinces her to enter into marriage with a local man named Logan Killicks. Janie doesn’t feel any affection towards Logan but hopes it will come with time. Three months go by and she still feels lonely so she visits and complains to her Nanny who tells her she will change her mind with time. Janie’s Nanny later shows regret at Janie’s unhappiness but knows she did her best. She died a month later.

Soon after this, Joe Starks comes by Janie’s house and introduces himself. He is an intelligent and ambitious man. He plans to buy land in Eatonville, a new all-black town. He asks Janie to leave Logan and come with him. Once, after Logan and Janie fight and Logan threatens Janie, Janie goes outside and left with Joe. They run away and get married.

Janie and Joe arrive in Eatonville and both are disappointed with the lack of organization in the community. Joe buys land quite a bit of land from the neighboring white and increased the size of the town. Joe calls a meeting of the town and decides to build both a general store that he would run and a post office. Joe becomes extremely influential in the town and was elected mayor. Unfortunately, Joe’s new power and responsibility strain his and Janie’s relationship.

Janie and Joe’s relationship continues to fall apart. Joe becomes increasingly jealous and controlling of Janie. Many years pass and Janie learns to just be quiet instead of fighting with Joe. He tried to hide his own flaws by pointing out Janie’s to the entire town.

Joe began to insult Janie one day and instead of taking it like always, Janie stood up for herself and told Joe that he was nothing but a loud voice; he’s not even a real man. Joe’s pride is crushed and he refuses to talk to or see Janie, even as his health deteriorates. Janie tries to talk to Joe for one last time and to make things right but Joe dies without budging a bit.

Janie is now finally free. She is financially independent and has no man to obey. She meets a young man named Tea Cake and the pair hit it off. Tea Cake took Janie to do fun things and treated her well. While the town criticized Janie for ending her mourning and for seeing a much younger man, Janie disregards these comments and decides to marry Tea Cake and sell the store.

Janie and Tea Cake decide to move down to the Everglades because work is supposed to be good and life fun. Working as a farm hand, Tea Cake spent his days picking beans and Janie takes care of the house. Here, Janie is free to talk and laugh without being reprimanded as in Eatonville.

At the end of the farming season, Janie meets Mrs. Turner, a woman of mixed race who hates her own blackness. She tries to get Janie to leave dark-skinned Tea Cake for someone lighter. Tea Cake confronts Mrs. Turner saying that if hates black people, she should stay away from him and Janie.

One day, passing Seminole Indians warn of a coming hurricane but aren’t believed. Later that night, the weather becomes extremely bad. Tea Cake and Janie hide in their basement and are extremely fearful. The storm passes and the pair decide to leave the region on foot. On their way, the lake dam breaks and water soon surrounds them. Janie has trouble and falls but Tea Cake helps her to keep going. Suddenly, a rabid dog tries to attack and bite Janie but Tea Cake protects her, getting bit in the process. Janie is fearful of the bite and wants to find a doctor but Tea Cake insists that he’s alright.

Tea Cake starts to feel sick and Janie calls for a doctor. She tells the doctor how Tea Cake was bitten a month ago. The doctor diagnoses Tea Cake with rabies and tells Janie he will most likely die soon. He also advises Janie not to sleep with Tea Cake for fear or contracting rabies also. Tea Cake starts to have wild mood swings and behaves irrationally. He confronts Janie, gun in hand, and shots her as Janie shoots him with a rifle. Tea Cake was shot first and fell to the ground, dying. He bit Janie before he died. Janie was arrested and tried for murder but was acquitted.

Janie arranges proper funeral for Tea Cake and then returns Eatonville. The story returns to the present with Janie and Pheoby on the porch. Janie imparts a piece of wisdom upon Pheoby when she said “Two things everybody got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”(Hurston 192). Janie tells Pheoby to tell her story to the townspeople, both to satisfy their curiosity and to maybe help them learn something about life. Janie realizes that Tea Cake is not dead as long as he is in her memory. Janie finally finds the peace she has been searching for all of her life.

Their Eyes Were Watching God presented me with two specific situations in history that conventional studies of history did not. One of these issues was the role of women during this time period, especially that of African American women. The other issue I perceived from this novel was the existence of race colonies. This novel is set in an all-black town and provides quite a bit of information about that type of settlement, which I had not learned about previously.

Janie’s grandmother imparted a great piece of wisdom to Janie before Janie left to be married. Her grandmother bemoaned the mistreatment of African American women, not only by white society, but also by their own black men. Janie’s grandmother said “So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see” (Hurston 14). Even when the 19th amendment was passed, many black women were still not allowed to vote. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s husband Jody was so threatened by Janie that he tried to restrict her to the point of unhappiness. Instead of trying to help their wives, sisters, and daughters succeed, many black men took out their own burdens upon them. For many years, African American women were the scape goat for many African American men.

Their Eyes Were Watching God was, for the most part, set in Eatonville, Florida, an all-black community. This town was also the hometown of Zora Neale Hurston. After the Civil War, many newly freed slaves came to Florida and took up work as farm hands or in construction for neighboring white towns (Black Towns).

The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is an important historical piece in African American woman’s literature. The 20’s and 30’s were a turbulent time period pictured in this novel. The events of the time period that it was centered on play an important role in the development of the plot.

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The Importance of Janie’s Tea Cake in Zora Hurston’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Their Eyes Were Watching God

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the main character, Janie, undergoes multiple bad relationships. Tea Cake, her third, and presumably last husband, treats her how she wants to be treated and provides her with a relationship she values. Tea Cake releases her from the feeling of confinement that Joe Starks and Logan Killicks have left her with. He frees Janie and helps her live a life she enjoys.

Logan Killicks tried to convince Janie that she would not be of value to anyone else, and that he was the best one for her. After Joe arrived and convinced Janie otherwise, he put her in a position she didn’t want to be in. He convinced her that she was above the other people in the community, while she only wanted to be seen as equal to her husband. When Joe doesn’t allow her to give her speech, she realizes that he won’t allow her to do many of the things that he or the other citizens of Eatonville do. He buys her nice things that she feels she doesn’t need, and creates a void in their relationship by not communicating or seeming to care about what she wants.

I believe that Joe’s death partially frees Janie from the life she lived. She enjoys herself, and does what she wants to, instead of what Joe wants her to do. Between the high standards and ridicule from the other citizens, and the waves of persistent men wanting to marry Janie, she still feels the influence of everyone’s idea of how she should be. Phoebe often mentions to Janie how the others disagree with her behavior. Janie only becomes completely comfortable with this after she meets Tea Cake.

Tea Cake treats Janie unlike Logan or Joe did. He listens to Janie and tries to provide her with what she wants, rather than telling her how to behave. Their relationship teaches Janie that she shouldn’t care what others think of her and Tea Cake. Janie and Tea Cake are more like close friends than just husband and wife. Janie gets to know Tea Cake, and Tea Cake gets to know Janie, which is something she wished she had been able to do with Joe. She feels like she has an actual relationship with her husband.

Excluding the time right before his death, Tea Cake loved Janie, and was more than willing to do the best for her. She learns to live how she wants to, to have fun, and to take her own opinions of herself over the opinions of others. In this way, Tea Cake sets Janie free.

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Analysis of Zora Neale Hurston’s Book, Their Eyes Were Watching God In reference To the Character of Jane

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Love is Worth Fighting For

Love is something that everyone wants to achieve at some point in their life. In the fictional novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zora Neale Hurston, love is exactly what Janie, the main character, wants. This book is set in the early 1900s and describes the story of a woman named Janie, who is on the hunt for love. She runs into many obstacles in her three relationships with Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake. She struggles in her relationships until she meets Tea Cake, where her journey comes to an end. Overall, this heroic journey that Janie is on, is all for love. To Janie, and many others, love is worth fighting for.

The Call: There is always something that motivates a person to begin their journey. In regards to Janie, her motivation is the pear tree. When Janie was sixteen years old, she would sit under this pear tree and conjure up her idea of what love is, and what kind of love she wants in life, while doing this Hurston says “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. 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! She had been summoned to behold a revelation” (11). As she sat under this tree, it was almost like it was sending her a message to find a love that was pure, and after that moment she spent there, she wouldn’t stop until she found it. Janie left her first marriage with Logan for Joe to see if she could experience love with him, and she left with Tea Cake to see where their relationship could go. Janie was willing to do anything for love, and it all falls back on the pear tree.

Allies: Going through life without a friend who supports you in everything you do, is hard. Thankfully, Janie had someone there to help her get through the obstacles in her love life, and her name was Phoebe. She was the only person who understood Janie, and didn’t judge her. She wanted what was best for her, and didn’t want Janie to be hurt. When Janie finishes her story, Phoebe explains “Ah done growed teen feet higher from jus’ listening tuh you, Janie. Ah ain’t satisfied wid mahself no mo’. . . Nobody better not criticize yuh in mah hearin” (192). . She supported her and helped her get through it. Phoebe wouldn’t let anyone hurt Janie now that she knew the truth. She never held Janie back from experiencing everything she ever could in life. She supported her through thick and thin, and that definitely makes Phoebe an ally.

The Preparation: You can’t run a marathon without preparing for it. You need a test-run, and to prepare for the real thing. You have to experience it first, because your first attempt is never perfect. When Janie sat under that pear tree and created her own idea of love, she immediately shared her first kiss with Johnny Taylor. After her experience under the tree, she saw people differently through her own eyes. For example, “Through pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road. In her former blindness, she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes” (12). In this moment, she realized that she needs to start seeing people for who they truly are. She had to start her expedition now and build up enough courage to succeed, and this is where she prepared for the long journey ahead.

Guardian of the Threshold: Life in the early 1900’s was difficult for colored people, and even worse as a woman. Janie’s grandmother, also known as Nanny, had Janie’s life planned out. Nanny didn’t live the easiest life as a black woman, she was a slave and never had a normal life, or any money to rely on. She wants Janie to marry a man with money, even if there is no love in the relationship. That is the opposite of what Janie wants. Nanny forces Janie to marry Logan Killicks, a man who owns many acres. Janie feels nothing for him, and only marries him to make Nanny happy. Logan is not what Janie imagined under the pear tree, it was even mentioned that “The vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but Janie didn’t know how to tell Nanny that” (14). Nanny was holding Janie back from her dream, and she stopped Janie from doing many things. For example, when Janie kissed Johnny Taylor, Nanny was furious. That isn’t what she wanted for Janie, but Janie doesn’t care about how much money a person has, and what they can provide her. All she wanted from a relationship was love, nothing else.

Crossing the Threshold: When you are on a mission, you have to get to the point where it actually begins, it could take days, months, or even years. Her first marriage was to Logan Killicks, she thought that maybe her love would come for him eventually, but it never did. She married him because she was following Nanny’s rules. He wanted her to work, but she didn’t think that work suited her very well. When Joe came to the city where Logan and Janie worked, everything changed. Janie ended up running off with him, to see if she could experience actual love. Janie’s idea of marriage changed, “She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman” (25). Leaving Logan is where Janie’s journey began. She thought that running off with Joe was the best thing possible for her. Everything comes to an end at some point.

Road of Trials: Every couple experiences problems in their relationships, Janie being one of them. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie had her ups and downs with three men, Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake. Logan wanted Janie to work, which is not what she wanted to do, Jody treated her like a trophy wife, and there was no actual love there, and though her relationship with Tea Cake seemed perfect, they had difficulties. Janie had to fight through the fact that Tea Cake might be with her for the money, it might not have been true, but she had to listen to the whole town criticize their relationship. No relationship is perfect, but it can always improve in some cases.

Logan and Janie’s relationship was complicated. Janie never loved him, and she realized that she never would. For example, “Cause you [Nanny] told me Ah mus gointer love him [Logan], and, and Ah don’t. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah could do it” (23). Janie didn’t even know how to love him, she couldn’t see past the old man that he was on the outside. Also, Logan wanted Janie to work in the fields with him since he owned many acres. Logan didn’t understand that working isn’t what Janie wanted, he told her “If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuh yuh, look lak you oughta be able tuh tote it inside. Mah first wife never bothered me ‘bout choppin’ no wood nohow. She’d grab dat ax and sling chips lak uh man. You done been spoilt rotten” (26). Logan criticized her for not working, and compared her to his first wife. To Logan, it was normal for woman to work. But, under the pear tree, Janie imagined a relationship where she could stay home and relax while the man worked and brought home the money. That was almost every normal relationship back then. Everyone has a different opinion.

Janie expected a perfect relationship when she left with Joe, he made her feel amazing in the beginning of their relationship. When Joe became mayor, things started changing. He felt the rush of power and started to turn into a different person. He would never let her speak, she was told to sit and look pretty. An example of that, is when Jody is speaking in front of the town of Eatonville before the lighting of the street lamp. He finishes up his speech, and the crowd asks to hear Janie speak. Jody turns their request down, and doesn’t let her speak. Janie feels like her opinion doesn’t matter. She is extremely hurt by this and doesn’t appreciate it at all. Throughout their relationship, he continues to do things like this. She can’t wear her hair down because he doesn’t like other men touching it, and she isn’t allowed to play checkers because she is a woman. Their relationship was ruined, and there was no coming back. Joe ruined it, and didn’t care one bit. If your wife is happy that you died, that sends a very important message. Power can change a man.

Tea Cake is where Janie hit the jackpot, but there are still problems. Dating a younger man sends a confusing message to others. People believed that Tea Cake was after money, and he would never actually love her. Janie had to trust her gut on this one and believe the love she had for Tea Cake was genuine. When Janie speaks with Phoebe, she hears things that she doesn’t want to hear. Phoebe says “But anyhow, Janie, you be keerful ‘bout dis sellin’ out and goin’ off wid strange men. Look whut happened tuh Annie Tyler. Took whut little she had and went off tuh Tampa wid dat boy dey call Who Flung. It’s somethin’ tuh think about” (114). Phoebe was putting thoughts into Janie’s head. When Janie woke up one morning after they left for Florida, and she found that Tea Cake was gone, and so was her money she jumped to conclusions because of what people had told her. She was furious with Tea Cake, she was never able to fully trust him till she was sure that it was true love. Other people’s opinions can actually change your way of thought.

Janie faced problems in all of her relationships, and she was only able to fight through it in one of them, the one where there was actually love between the two. She couldn’t work with Logan because she didn’t love him enough to do that for him, she couldn’t deal with Jody’s rules because he controlled her and sucked every bit of love for him out of her. Janie couldn’t be in a relationship that only made the other person happy, she needed happiness also. Janie is thankful to have finally found her one true love.

The Saving Experience: Though Janie never felt the tragedy of Joe dying, it still affected her in other ways. She was forced to wear black to satisfy the town, and pretend she was sad. The black she wore seemed to represent her sadness of all the misery she lived with Joe more than it did his death. Thankfully, Tea Cake came into the picture. He made her feel amazing, and she fell for him instantaneously. He didn’t hold her back from anything, and he truthfully saved her from misery. Before him, she wouldn’t be allowed to do anything that Joe wouldn’t have allowed her to do. One example, is when Tea Cake and her first met in the store. “He [Tea Cake] set it [checkers] 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. She looked him over and got little thrills from every one of his good points” (96). Janie has never felt like this around someone, he brought out the best in her. He saved her from the terrible memories with Joe. He made everything she remembered with Joe, move out of her mind, and inserted the good memories with himself. Tea Cake brought Janie happiness she couldn’t have ever imagined having.

The Transformation: Throughout the entire novel, Janie changes in many different ways. She sees love in a completely new way now. Janie had a lot of experience with relationships, and it transformed her way of thinking. She knew what love truly was when she went off with Tea Cake. She changed both mentally and physically. She could wear her hair down, she smiled more, and she knew how to actually love a person for who they really are. She changed after leaving with Tea Cake, he taught her many things. While speaking with Phoebe she says, “Ah’m older than Tea Cake, yes. But he done showed me where its de thought dat makes de difference in ages. If people thinks de same they can make it all right. So in the beginnin’ new thoughts had tuh be thought and new words said. After Ah got used tuh dat, we gits ‘long jus’ fine. He done taught me de maiden language all over” (115). The age difference no longer affected Janie, she didn’t care what people thought. When she got over the fact that there was a big age difference, she was able to love. She was now able to look past everything that was being said, and have fun. She had no Jody to worry about, no Nanny to tell her to marry a ‘rich’ man. She was free and happy now, she transformed for the best.

The Return: When people work so hard for something, it makes you look at things differently. People realize what they have been waiting for, for so long. In Janie’s case, when she returns back to Eatonville after Tea Cake dies, she realizes something. She experienced the love that she always wanted, and she couldn’t ask for anything better. She got what she wanted, her journey is completed, and she has accomplished her lifetime goal. Similarly, when she finishes telling Phoebe her story, she expresses her feelings by saying “Now, dat’s how everything was, Phoebe, jus’ lak Ah told yuh. 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. Dis house ain’t so absent of things lak it used tuh be befo’ Tea Cake came along” (191). Janie can live the rest of her life in peace knowing that she succeeded, if she were to die right there, she would die filled with happiness. Her house isn’t filled with terrible memories of Joe anymore, all she sees is Tea Cake in the kitchen, in the bedroom, or in the parlor, and it’s a good feeling. Everything is different now, she never has to live in vain and can live knowing what she saw under the pear tree actually happened to her. Janie returned to Eatonville a changed woman.

Sharing the Gift: Janie had to tell someone her experiences with love, and she decides to do that with Phoebe. She shared her gift by telling her story to Phoebe. Janie had a happily ever after, and gained a lot through her journey. She found out what was right, and what was wrong. She shared her experience, information, and understanding on love. Phoebe looked at her very differently now, but it was for the better. She appreciated Janie telling her the truth, Phoebe wants what is best for Janie. Sharing her story was a brave thing for Janie to do, she had to re-experience all the terrible and happy moments in her life, and she most likely struggled. Overall, Janie fought for love, and won in the end.

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The Rise to Motherhood in Larsen’s Passing

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Throughout much of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry are portrayed as polar opposites. Though they both occupy the role of a young African-American mother living during the prosperous 1920s, they define that role in intensely different ways. Clare is a vivacious, wild woman who rejects her “people” in favor of freedom and glamour, whereas her good childhood friend Irene is more subdued and tries to act proud of her racial background for the sake of her family. Their differences ultimately manifest in their approaches to motherhood, and much of the novel revolves around the choices they make with regards to racial passing and parenting. Maternity is central to the racial passing experiences of both Irene and Clare, because Larsen is suggesting that mothers are responsible for carrying on the honor of the race that they belong to. Clare’s attitude towards her racial passing and Irene’s beliefs against it are each shaped and affected subsequently by the ways they view themselves as mothers, and it is this friction that drives the narrative towards its inevitable tragic conclusion.

The importance of the maternal figure is established early on in the novel, beginning with the free spirited Clare Kendry. Her own origins are tense and dramatic, with her “drunken father, a tall, powerfully built man” (p. 143) often asserting his masculine dominance over her. The lack of Clare’s own mother – a Negro girl, who as “they say, would have run away if she hadn’t died” (p. 153) – would later prove to be detrimental to Clare’s development. After the death of her father leaves her orphaned and without anyone to help her deal with her interracial heritage, Clare continues to evolve into an emotional roller coaster, something Irene remembers more clearly while she scrutinizes Clare’s character: “Sometimes she was hard and apparently without feeling at all; sometimes she was affectionate and rashly impulsive” (p. 144-145). Without a mother to properly nurture her feelings and sensibilities, Clare chooses to rebel against all expectations of her black race by passing for a white woman in order to compensate for her troubled childhood.

In addition to lacking a nurturing mother, Clare is left under the care of her father’s sisters, considerably the biggest influences behind Clare’s passing. Her aunts serve as substitute maternal figures for Clare, and they basically teach her to ignore the ancestry of her biological mother. “For all their Bibles and praying and ranting about honesty, they didn’t want anyone to know that their darling brother had seduced…a Negro girl. […] They forbade me to mention Negroes to the neighbours, or even to mention the south side. You may be sure that I didn’t,” Clare explains to Irene while discussing her life with her aunts (p. 159). These women essentially condition Clare to deny the existence of her Negro blood, and with nobody else around to show her how to be proud of the African American race, Clare rejects her heritage and readily slips into the persona of a pure white woman.

When Clare becomes a mother herself, she earnestly continues to pass as white and this leads to her neglecting even her own child. Throughout Larsen’s novel, Irene points out to Clare that she must remember the well-being of her daughter Margery. Clare laments over the prospect of leaving New York, and even when Irene reminds her about Margery, Clare is still daunted that she cannot stay and mingle with the rest of the Harlem society. “Children aren’t everything… There are other things in the world, though I admit some people don’t seem to suspect it,” Clare complains (p. 210). Clare obviously admires the glamour of her white appearance, and to be reminded by her child that she still carries (and has passed on) Negro blood would set her back. Coupled with her husband John Bellew’s adamant rule that there be “no niggers in my family” (p. 171), Clare cannot be a good mother to her child without admitting to her true nature. She understands that within the white race, there is an expectation that the pure white blood will carry on in future generations. Rather than nurturing her child to atone for her own mother’s absence, Clare continues the cycle by making herself as unavailable as she can for her daughter. With Margery around, Clare cannot be as vibrant and as exuberant as she wants to be.

In contrast to Clare’s rejection of maternity and family in favor of self-gratification and social status, Irene takes her own role as a mother very seriously. “I am wrapped up in my boys and the running of my house. I can’t help it. And really, I don’t think it’s anything to laugh at,” Irene responds to Clare (p. 210). She believes it is her responsibility to instill proper values in her two sons, and wants them to be able to grow up and freely embrace their African American heritage. After young Ted inquires about why only colored people were lynched, Irene and her husband Brian feud over how best to approach the subject of their sons’ race. Brian argues that if “they’ve [Ted and Junior] got to live in this damned country, they’d better find out what sort of thing they’re up against as soon as possible” (p. 231). He wants their children to be equipped to handle racism, but Irene wants “their childhood to be happy and as free from the knowledge of such things as it possibly can be” (p. 231). Irene fears that if her sons are more aware of the harsh bigotry and prejudice that awaits them out in the real world, they will become ashamed of their African American heritage and will suffer for it. If she fails to make her children’s lives happy and ‘as free from the knowledge’ of racism before they are ready for it, then Irene will not only have failed her position as a mother, but she will have failed her position as a mother of the Negro race. Unlike Clare, who does not want to be discovered that she is secretly carrying on the blood of the slaves, Irene wants to see her race progress into a better social stratum.

Irene’s decision to remain within the confines of her race and not publicly deny it also relates to the fact that the rest of her family is of a darker tone: “Irene…now said in a voice of whose even tones she was proud: ‘One of my boys is dark’” (p. 168). She has to be honored by her family’s skin color for the sake of her children. Irene ‘proudly’ describes her son as dark, and she sees it as her duty to foster this darkness and show off to the world how great the African American man can be. As opposed to Clare – who, as a deserter, has “to be afraid of freaks of the nature” (p. 169) – Irene has to deny actively passing and embrace her black heritage, and she believes that by uplifting future generations into overcoming white racism and prejudice, she will have done her part superbly as a colored mother.

The differences that separate Clare and Irene as mothers ultimately lead to their final confrontation and the tragic circumstances that surround them in the novel’s conclusion. Clare wants to free herself from John Bellew, but Irene believes that she is being selfish in neglecting Margery. “I think…that being a mother is the cruelest thing in the world,” Clare declares (p. 197). Clare believes that her child is holding her back from happiness and independence, and Irene tries desperately to explain to her that she has a duty to Margery. “We mothers are all responsible for the security and happiness of our children,” Irene argues to Clare in response. As a fellow parent, Irene wants to stop Clare from ruining the lives of herself and her child. It almost appears as if she wants to take them under her wing as well and nurture their appreciation – or at least acceptance – of their African American ancestry. When at the end, it seems as if Clare might have done the unthinkable and violated Irene’s own family, Irene comes to see Clare as a failure of the black race. Though Clare may have openly denied her race by passing as white for her entire adult life, Irene still believed that there was a chance to reclaim Clare.

In the end, Clare’s lack of dedication towards her maternity and family holds steady and Irene is zealous at maintaining the visage of a happy, successful African American family unit. The themes of family and womanhood are constantly being questioned and refashioned by Larsen in Passing because Clare and Irene’s passing – whether active or passive – experiences are deeply shaped by their maternal identities. These two radically different mothers interact with each other the entire novel, but their beliefs are too firm to be shaken. Mothers are expected to uphold the pride of her race, and since Clare could not do this for the white race she was a part of, she paid the consequences for it.

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