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Their Eyes Were Watching God: Symbolism, Themes, and Motifs.

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Isabela Joan Valencia

on 22 August 2014

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Transcript of Their Eyes Were Watching God: Symbolism, Themes, and Motifs.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Symbolism, Themes, and Motifs.
While Janie sometimes admires the community and longs to interact with it more in her years with Jody, there are also times that she hates the community. She looks down on their gossip and their disapproval for her strong personality.
While not the central focus of the novel, it's certainly a significant motif. And while there is certainly racism against the African-Americans of the novel, racism seems to be able to reach and affect anyone, including African-Americans themselves.
Motifs (cont.)
In this book, God isn't so much the traditional deity as he is deeply connected with fate and nature. The beauty of nature exists because it all has a divine quality to it, and for that we have the God of the novel to thank. The author of the novel was known to study mythology, and it certainly shows throughout the novel with the religion, nature, and Janie's journey having deep roots in folklore.
Pear Tree
The End
All throughout the book, the author writes the narrative in standard English, and yet has the characters speak in the way Southern African-Americans would speak at the time the book takes place. It also portrays how men are encouraged to speak and take control while women are supposed to simply remain silent, as in the case of Jody and Janie.
Practically the entire book focuses on Janie and her quest to find the idea of love that she has in her head. Despite many people around her holding the belief that love only comes secondary when it comes to marriage and security, love is the first quality that Janie searches for, and continues to search for.
The narrator isn't clear on whether she sees beauty as a positive or negative thing. While Janie is able to gain many things in life because of her external beauty, but it also happens to put her back as men want her and women are jealous of her.
Symbolism (cont.)
The hurricane in the novel represents the destructive, almost evil side of nature. While the tree and the horizon are portrayed in a good light, the hurrican is definitely portrayed in a bad one as it destroys both homes and lives in its wake without care or thought. Even so, the hurricane is immensely powerful, not only because of its physical force, but also because it makes the characters of the novel question their place and their role in the world.
Themes (cont.)
In the book, Janie's hair is very long and straight. She continues to wear it down as she gets older, despite what people tell her, symbolizing her independence. Any time her hair is imprisoned also symbolizes Janie's own imprisonment.
Pear Tree:
When Janie watches the bees interact with the tree, she witnesses a "moment in nature" that she idealizes and tries to regain that moment through the rest of the book. It symbolizes her idealized views of nature, and at times her own innocence because of this idealization.
Symbolizes the peace and mystery of nature that Janie wishes to connect with. Judging by the end of the novel, it seems like she achieved her goal.

Generally, women are seen as imprisoned by men, and becoming a widow is a way of gaining back their freedom. One's social class also becomes a form of imprisonment, as seen with Janie through her years with Jody.
This is a very prevalent theme throughout the book. Everyone in the community takes part in such an emotion, and can range from harsh words to actual violence, also seen in Jody and his relationship with Janie.
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