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Feminist Analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Ne

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Victoria Reidy

on 17 December 2014

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Transcript of Feminist Analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Ne

Treatment of Janie
Feminism Theory

Feminist theory is one of the major contemporary theories, which analyzes the status of women and men in society with the purpose of using that knowledge to better women's lives,giving a voice to women and highlighting the various ways women have contributed to society
Main Points of Feminist Theory:
Women equality/ equality for all
Justice for women
The end of sexism in all forms
Zora Neale Hurston
Born on January 7, 1891, in Alabama
daughter of two former slaves
To support herself and finance her efforts to get an education, Hurston worked a variety of jobs, including as a maid for an actress
In 1920, Hurston earned an associate degree from Howard University.
Moved to New York
landed a scholarship to Barnard College
In 1927, Hurston returned to Florida
Two years later, she received a fellowship, which allowed her to work on
Their Eyes Were Watching God
In 1942, Hurston published her autobiography,
Dust Tracks on a Road
Career took a downfall
She suffered a fatal stroke and passed away on January 28, 1960, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Through her works was able to inspire many writers
Feminism Theory and Their Eyes Were Watching God
Treatment of Janie
Comparison between men and women roles
Janie finding her true self through her three relationships
Jody Starks
Logan Killicks
Jody Starks
Tea Cake
Janie Mae Crawford
her beauty and unquieness shines through even in childhood, lives with her grandmother, Nanny
At age 16, Janie witnesses sexual union for the first time between a bee and a pear blossom.
She seduces a boy into kissing her, hoping to taste romance for the first time.
Janie marries an old ugly farmer named Logan Killicks at Nanny’s urging.
Janie runs away with Joe Starks, the city man, and they get married. Their destination is Eatonville.
On his deathbed, Janie confronts Joe and speaks her mind
Joe’s death brings Janie a sense of freedom and she enjoys her widowhood for several months.
Meets Tea Cake, a much younger low class man
Kills Tea Cake and achieves all goals including the feeling between a bee and a pear blossom.
2nd husband
a born entrepreneur but he suffers from an overdose of ambition
uncontrollable jealousy over Janie
Joe mixes conceptions of manhood with his right to power, wealth, and authority
He forces her to tie her hair up because its quality threatens his male dominance
During her marriage to Jody, Janie comes to accept his control over her, it seems easier to just give in. She buries her voice deep inside and forgets about it.
Joe’s treatment of women also defines him; he acts like women are objects to be owned and ordered around by men.
Through this marriage Janie begins to find her voice, how to express herself, and the power of silence.
Tea Cake
3rd / last husband
Janie meets Tea Cake and there is an instant connect
Tea Cake functions as the catalyst that helps drive Janie toward her goals
Whereas Logan treats her like a farm animal and Jody silences her, Tea Cake converses and plays with her.
He plays a role in her life, helping her to better understand herself.
Tea Cake’s encouragement of Janie helps her to overcome gender boundaries.
Janie discovers what true love feels like and through killing him, she has fully reached her goals and is able to fully live her life.
Logan Killicks
1st husband
An old, unattractive man but Nanny, sees him as security for Janie
Logan continues his normal farm routines, and does certain household chores because he considers them to be "his responsibility".
Roughly a year later, while Logan is out of town, Janie meets man who passes near her house and gives her what Logan cannot – sophistication, and the promise of a prosperous life.
Janie has an argument with Logan which ends with him threatening to kill her.
Janie decides to leave Logan for Joe Starks
Logan seems to have the idea that marriage means dominating a woman, and women are objects for men to put to use.

Feminism Theory of
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

Victoria Reidy
not compassionate
too old
not in love
promotes independence
Comparison of Men and Women
Women are treated as property, inferior, and unequal
Men are superior, in-charge, and more important
Women are not married for love but for show or as a worker
Work Cited

1. Feminism/ The Fashion Cult (http://thefashioncult.co.uk/2014/12/04/feminism/)
2. Modern [ushistory.org] US history (n.d.) (http://www.ushistory.org/us/57a.asap
3. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990
4. Major Themes Of Their Eyes Were Watching God( http://cliffnotes.com/literature/t/their-eyes-were-watching-god/critical-essays/major themes-of their-eyes-were-watching-god
5. Janie’s Story Surpassing Allenation to Achieve a Feminist…( http://eaglefeather.honors.unt.edu/2013/article/254>
6. Student Resource in Context: Document http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/suic/CriticalEssayDetailsPage/DocumentToolsPortletWindow?jsid=656e94fbf31a3b09e04c3102392a9e67&action=2&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CA131896903&userGroupName=dove10524&zid=da80c24b37d11561f260adb4b4456a

To wrap it up
Janie returns to Eatonville a strong and proud woman, but at the beginning of her story, she is unsure of who she is or how she wants to live.
When we first and last see Janie, she is alone. The novel is not the story of her quest for a partner but rather that of her quest for a secure sense of independence.
Although Their Eyes Were Watching God revolves around Janie’s relationships with other people, it is first and foremost a story of Janie’s search for spiritual enlightenment and a strong sense of her own identity.
Under the pear tree, she witnesses a perfect union of harmony within nature. She knows that she wants to achieve this type of love.
By the end of her journey she as achieved everything including finding her voice, her horizon, defying gender roles, and most importantly her independence.
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