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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Brianna Wagner

on 13 January 2015

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Transcript of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Janie, a black woman born into an early generation after slavery was abolished, dreamed of being in love but is married off by her grandmother to a man she doesn't love, Logan. Logan was not ambitious and wanted a comfortable life and nothing more. He also made Janie do "men's" work which she hated. Janie was not happy with Logan's lack of drive and her marriage to him made her realize that marriage was not about love; crushing her childhood dreams and making her a woman. Eventually Janie meets a man, Joe Stark, who was wealthy and ambitious. She falls in love with him and they run away together to an all black town.
Plot Summary
Months after Joe's death, Janie was still running the store when a man who called himself Tea Cake came in. They had a connection and Tea Cake taught her how to play checkers, contrasting to the way Joe thought she couldn't learn anything. "'Jody useter tell me Ah never would learn. It wuz too heavy for mah brains.' 'Folks is playin' it wid sense and folks is playin' it without. But you got good meat on yo' head. You'll learn.'" (P. 96) After a while of being with Tea Cake, he and Janie decide to move away to Jacksonville. Janie and Tea Cake start working in the fields together showing the difference between Logan, who made her work hard, Joe, who didn't let her work at all other than the store, and Tea Cake who worked alongside her as equals. Janie finally found love with Tea Cake and was the happiest she'd ever been. However, after a hurricane when he'd saved Janie from a wild dog that bit him, Tea Cake contracted rabies. Janie had to eventually shoot him or else be shot by Tea Cake in his mad fury from the sickness. Janie returned to the town she lived in with Joe and was at peace because she had loved someone truly and she was content to live the rest of her life.
The Prompt
In a literary work, a minor character, often known as a foil, possesses traits that emphasize by contrast or comparison, the distinctive characteristics and qualities of the main character. For example, the ideas or behavior of the minor character might be used to highlight the weaknesses or strengths of the main character.

Choose a novel or play in which a minor character serves as a foil to a main character. Then write n essay in which you analyze how the relation between the minor character and the major character illuminates the meaning of the work
Joe Stark immediately started working on the town; pushing the people who lived there to improve it. His ambition carried him into the position of mayor. He earned the respect of the townspeople because he was able to purchase things with great sums of money, which the black people in the neighborhood had never been exposed to before. Joe Stark's property is similar to a plantation house making him similar to a white man. "The rest of the town looked like servant's quarters surrounding the 'big house'".(P. 47) He treats Janie like she's a prize. She's only allowed to work in the store and he makes her wear her hair tied back, a symbol of his control over her because she is not free. She referred to herself as a "rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels."(P. 76) Joe being the person that keeps her beaten down and submissive. Janie is just something to be envied like the big white house he owns. Joe became sick and died soon and after his death, Janie let her hair loose and put on a show of grief for the townspeople to see. She wore black for months even though she never grieved Joe's death.
By: Brianna and Kaylee
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The task is to choose a novel in which a minor character emphasizes a major character's traits by either comparison or contrast, then write an essay which analyzes the relation between the characters.

To address this task, a writer must first analyze character traits of the major character and then how the minor character's traits emphasize the major's. A writer should avoid simply comparing or contrasting the characters by analyzing what strengths and weaknesses are shown in the major character because of the minor character's strengths and weaknesses.
A good foil to use would be Janie's grandmother. Her grandmother, Nanny, was a slave and so she wanted for Janie what she could never have at that age. Nanny's exposure to the horrible life of a black woman during slavery and after, gave her a sense of foreboding about the world. Her anxious personality is what drives her to marry Janie off to a wealthy land owner who she believes will keep her safe. "'Ah been waitin' a long time, Janie, but nothin' Ah been through ain't too much if you just take a stand on high ground lak Ah dreamed.'" (P.16) Nanny believes in safety and protection but Janie believes in love. Janie believes her place is with someone who she loves and who loves her. Janie, who has not been exposed to the same horrors as Nanny, does not agree with living a loveless life. Nanny's beaten down life and outlook contrasts with Janie's ability to dream, emphasizing Janie's desire to live her life with love and happiness.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, the novel shows the struggle that freed slaves and their children had to face in finding their place and themselves in the new free world. Janie believes her place in the world is with someone she loves, whereas Nanny believes Janie's place in the world is with someone who can keep her safe.
I. Introduction
II. P. 1: Characteristics of Janie
Her desire to love and be loved
Her ability to dream
Her defiance- arguing with Nanny
III. P.2: Characteristics of Nanny
Anxious personality- immediately tried to marry off Janie
Her idea that Janie's place in the world is with someone who can keep her safe and comfortable
IV. P.3: Contrast Characteristics
V. Conclusion

Text Evidence
"'Tain't Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it's protection." (P. 15)

This dialogue from Nanny shows the contrast between Janie and Nanny because Janie knows she doesn't love Logan and doesn't believe that that should be her place, while her grandma thinks protection is more important than love; Janie's place in the world is where she is safe, not where she is loved.

"A feeling of sudden newness and change came over her. Janie hurried out of the front gate and turned south. Even if Joe was not there waiting for her, the change was bound to do her good." (P.32)

Janie's decision to leave Logan shows how different her's and her grandma's values are. Nanny would never leave safety and comfort for a dream of love. This shows Janie is not satisfied with just a comfortable life; she would rather find her own way of living than do what her grandma wanted her to do.

"... Ah wanted you to look upon yo'self. Ah don't want yo' feathers always crumpled by folks throwin' up things in yo' face." (P. 20)

Nanny talks about wanting Janie to be protected from the things that Nanny was exposed to when she was Janie's age. Nanny's exposure to certain horrors is why she has an anxious outlook on life; she wants Janie to have a life her grandma wished for. Nanny's desire to protect Janie contrasts with Janie's desire to experience life
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