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Symbolism of The Pear Tree and the Bees

IB English 11 IA
by

Faith Thomas

on 6 January 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism of The Pear Tree and the Bees

Symbolism of The Pear Tree In Their Eyes Were Watching God Thesis The pear tree symbolizes Janie’s budding sexuality, as the bees symbolize the men needed to keep her sexuality in bloom. From a nature standpoint: POL•LI•NA•TION: noun \pä-l-nā-shn\ the transfer of pollen from an anther to the stigma in angiosperms or from the microsporangium to the micropyle in gymnosperms Janie's being, and specifically her sexuality, are represented by the blossoms of the pear tree. In order to produce fruit, (in order to fulfill their ultimate goal predestined by nature) These blossoms need to be fertilized by the bees that carry the pollen to do so. Janie's need for love is characterized by the blossoms' need to be pollinated by the bees. Book References: “It was a spring afternoon in west Florida. Janie had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree for the last three days. That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From baron brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously. How? Why? It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? The singing she heard that had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep. It connected itself with other vaguely felt matter that had struck her outside observation and buried themselves in her flesh. Now they emerged and quested about her consciousness.
"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 arched 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. The Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.” (Page 10-11) Here is where her sexuality begins to blossom, at the age that it typically does for most women. As Janie is maturing and coming into her womanhood, her natural inclination towards finding her other half begins to play a major role. “Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think. Ah…” Logan This passage displays Janie’s want for a marriage that resembles the relationship between the bees and the pear tree. (Page 24) “Janie pulled back a long time because he did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for a far horizon. He spoke for change and chance. She still hung back. The memory of Nanny was still powerful and strong.” (Page 29) Janie acknowledges that Jody does not represent the bee-to-pear-tree relationship she desires, but mistakes his passion for something that could turn into that. She mistakes his talk for the horizon as talk for something that could mimic the horizon she is aiming for. Jody “She couldn’t make him look just like any other man to her. He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be the bee to a blossom—a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was a glance from God.” (Page 106) Tea Cake When Janie meets Tea Cake and falls in love with him, she finally finds the “bee to her blossom.”
In other words, she finds the love she’s always desired and needed in her womanhood. Janie’s ultimate goal is to find a love that mimics the beauty she sees in the pear tree as it blossoms. In her eyes, the blossoms represent her, which can only continue to bloom and prosper if a bee to pollinate the bud is present. Sources Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1937. Print.
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