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Their Eyes were watching god

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Millie Butera

on 13 March 2013

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Transcript of Their Eyes were watching god

Janie meets a boy named Johnny Taylor,
but is not allowed to date him due to
his poor status. This idea of love
based on status shapes Janie's views
in the future. Janie spends the majority of her young life with
Nanny. Due to Nanny's difficult past, she only wants
the best for Janie. Nanny is strict but loving, and teaches Janie that marriage should be based on status
and money. Thus, she instills a negative
view of love in Janie, causing her much
unhappiness in life. Character Analysis Life with Nanny Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston Back to Eatonville Character Analysis Married to Logan Symbolism: Janie's Hair Janie's Life with Joe Sybolism: The Hurricane as a monster Tea Cake and the Everglades Symbolism:The return of the Horizon Janie's Journey Alone in Eatonville Logan Killicks, Janie's husband, proves to be domineering and controlling over Janie. While Janie tries to love him, she can't seem to feel a connection. Janie comes to realize that marriage, despite the beliefs of Nanny, needs to be based on love. Character Analysis While Janie thinks Joe will be different than Logan, she finds herself in the same situation. Joe ignores Janie and bosses her around, and Janie oftentimes feels distant from her husband. He restricts her from living her life, and is more concerned with his job than his marriage. Joe finally proves to Janie that status is not the key to happiness. Character Analysis After Joe's death, Janie meets Hezekiah. While he keeps
her company, Janie does not develop a true connection. After spending some time alone, Janie meets
Tea Cake. He goes against everything her
Nanny taught her about love and marriage,
but Janie decides to be with him anyway.
Tea Cake brings out all of the traits in
Janie Joe had suppressed. His outgoing
and friendly demeanor provide Janie
with a refreshing rebirth. Character Analysis In the Everglades, Tea Cake proves his
gambling side to Janie. Nonetheless, he
proves to Janie how he would do anything
for her when he wins back her money and
saves her life during the storm. This
solidifies their marriage and shows
Janie that she has finally found a true companion. Janie also meets some new friends in the
Everglades. They are loud and carefree, unlike
her friends in Eatonville. Although she gets along
with them, she finds herself feeling as
though they are Tea Cake's friends,
not hers. Janie develops a friendship with a racist woman named Mrs. Turner. Mrs. Turner's disgust of her own race and Tea Cake make Janie even more proud to be who she is and to be married to Tea Cake. Character Analysis Janie finds herself back in
Eatonville, and decides to
confide in her old friend
Pheoby. Pheoby proves
to be loyal and understanding,
which helps Janie feel welcome
and at peace with her life. While Pheoby proves her support, the townspeople judge Janie. However, Janie's resilience proves how far she's come with her own self respect. Symbolism: The Pear Tree Setting:Eatonville Setting:The Everglades Setting: Janie's birthplace Important Quotations “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” (1)


This passage at the beginning of the novel sets up Janie’s motivation. This quote describes women as people who chase after their dreams and act on them. On the other hand, men don’t always go after the things they long for. The lines “The dream is the truth” exemplify how woman take their fantasies and make them a reality. In Janie’s case, she follows her heart throughout the book. She consistently chases after the things she wants and does not wait to do so. Starting from the beginning of the novel, Janie is characterized as a defiant woman of her time. This quote further establishes Janie’s actions throughout the novel. Important Quotations Important Quotations Important Quotations Important Quotations Important Quotations The novel is written as a flashback. Janie has returned to Eatonville to see Pheoby after a funeral. While talking to her old friend, she recaps her life thus far. Stylist Devices; Time Sequencing Janie’s life is a balancing act. She is in a constant internal conflict with her desire for independence and her relationship with her husband at the time. As an abandoned child, she is raised by Nanny. Following Nanny’s advice, she marries Logan at 16 so she will have someone to care for her once Nanny dies. After Logan, she marries Joe. As his wife she is force into subservience, and does not regain any freedom until he dies. As a single woman, she is able to successfully run a business. But, she feels emptiness in her personal life, until Tea Cake comes. With him, she finally develops an equal partnership in which she finally is content. Theme; Love and Independence Theme, Gender As a woman, Janie is expected to be many different things to men and to her Nanny. Her Nanny expects her to be a woman who is taken care of, and married to a wealthy man. Joe Starks expects her to be a silent, supportive wife of a mayor. Tea Cake just wants her to be herself. Janie shatters the time’s expectations for women by running a business and falling in love with a younger man. Janie was a product of rape, and her mother was a product of rape by a white teacher. (Janie is 25% white.) She has sex with each of her husbands, but Tea Cake is the only one who she makes love with because he is the only one she truly loved and consented to sex with. Theme; Sex (1:18:30- 1:22:10) It is only fair to characterize Janie at the end of her journey. Janie can be described as experienced and smart, for she goes through a myriad of life altering events. These events shape her into a wise, independent woman. She is one who learns for herself, and at the end of her journey is at peace with her surroundings. Janie grew up with her Nanny in an impoverished area of Florida. This influences her Nanny’s desire to see her move up in the world, and to see Janie find a man who could easily support her. Nature is a very important motif in the novel, as seen through the hurricane, and the pear tree. For Janie, the pear tree is a place of peace and the harmony of nature, a place where she could feel “the rose of the world breathing out smell” (pg10). It is a place where she can be at peace before she is thrust into a life full of the harsh realities of marriage. Throughout the novel, Janie’s hair serves as a symbol for her beauty & feminine power. In times of freedom, Janie’s hair hangs loosely around her shoulders, when she is under Jody’s thumb, her hair is bound up, hidden from the prying eyes of her town to spare her husband’s jealous feelings. When Janie’s husband dies, her hair is no longer hidden away under a rag, but it is still kept neatly braided, as her freedom is still restricted by the expectations of her community. Eatonville is a new all-black town, filled with often judgmental community members. They are unable to see the truth of Janie and Tea Cake’s relationship, and often took Jody’s side when spoke meanly of Janie. The Everglades is a place where Janie experiences much more freedom, as it is a community made up of mostly day laborers, so many women are out in the fields every day, right next to the men. It is a fresh opportunity for her and Tea Cake to live out from under Jody's shadow. The hurricane that hits Eatonville is a often compared to a monster, as it wreaks untold destruction on the towns, and lives it touches. It symbolizes the destructive forces in nature, coexisting with the peaceful (such as the pear tree). For Janie, the horizon represents her own freedom and inner peace. It was something that, as a little girl, she could only watch from a distance and yearn for. However, it is through her own dogged pursuit of her own happiness that she is able to finally grab on to it, and be content. Symbols: Guns Guns are traditionally a symbol of masculinity, and for Janie they reflect her embracing a different side of herself, one that might be able to stand up for herself when her life is threatened. Janie was a product of rape, and her mother was a product of rape by a white teacher. (Janie is 25% white.) She has sex with each of her husbands, but Tea Cake is the only one who she makes love with because he is the only one she truly loved and consented to sex with. Themes: Sex  “She knew know that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” (25)

These lines show how Jamie’s innocence has ended after her first marriage with Logan. Before her marriage, she was taught to believe that marriage was solely for security. In Janie’s case, she believed that with marriage came love. Through her experiences with Logan she learns that these two are not the same. This quote describes Janie’s loss of naivety.   Janie is quite wealthy with Joe in Eatonville, but she is not emotionally wealthy there. In comparison, with Tea Cake, she isn’t as wealthy, but is very happy. Janie works at a store with Joe, and then in the fields with Tea Cake, which is uncharacteristic of a woman. She is judged in Eatonville, but in the Everglades she is accepted. Theme: Wealth and Society “Let ‘em say whut dey wants tuh, Phoeby. To my thinkin’ mourning oughtn’t tuh last no longer’n grief.” (93)

This quote stated by Janie to Phoeby further characterizes Janie as an independent and defiant woman of her time. After the death of her husband Joe, she states that she “loves the freedom.” After Phoeby scolds Janie not to say that, she says these lines. Through this quote Janie explains how she does not care what other people think, and continues to move on with her life. "It's uh known fact, Pheoby, you got tuh go there tuh know there..Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves." (192)

This quote further describes Janie as a character, and how she has tried to live for herself and not anyone else. These lines show how she is a religious and defiant character. Through these lines, Janie expresses towards Phoeby that one must live through experience on their own to understand life. Janie does this throughout the novel and consistently follows her heart. The tone of Their Eyes Were Watching God is optimistic. Despite Janie’s difficulties, she still creates a life she is content to live. When Janie has to move and change her love, she doesn’t hesitate because she has never ending hope. Stylistic Devices; Tone There are various allusions throughout the novel. She alludes to literature such as Dante’sInferno, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, as well as historical people, like Booker T. Washington, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and General Sherman. Also, Eatonville is truly the first solely African-American community. Stylistic Devices; Allusion “She got nothing from Jody except what money could buy, and she was giving away what she didn’t value.” (76)

During Janie’s marriage with Joe, she was subservient in their relationship. Joe had a lot of power in the town and in turn, Janie could not be her powerful self. She was unhappy in her relationship with Joe and felt as if she wasn’t living life the way she wanted to. As the author describes, she only received from Joe what money could buy. In other words, the valuable things in life were lacking in this relationship. Throughout the novel, Hurston utilizes Southern dialect to enhance the color and authenticity of the dialogue. Stylisitic Devices, Vernacular Stylistic Devices; Diction and Vocabulary The dialogue includes lower level, simple vocabulary. However, the narration is entirely different. It uses higher level word choice. This contrast further characterizes Janie’s level of intelligence in terms of academics compared to her wisdom in life.  “He drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from it’s hiding place.” (128)
This quote describes how happy Janie is with Tea Cake. Although they don’t have everything in the world, they still have each other and that is enough for them. Unlike Janie’s previous husbands, Tea Cake is genuine and their relationship is based on true love. In these lines her soul is personified as crawling out from its hiding place, as she finally is content with her life. This quote shows how comfortable Janie is with Tea Cake and their marriage.
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