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Their Eyes Were Watching God


Megan York

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Their Eyes Were Watching God

History of Hurston Logan Motifs Symbol Motifs Joe Joe is Janie's second husband.

Janie randomly meets Jody Starks ("Joe") in the middle of the street outside of her house. She cares for him, and Joe is so much in love with her beauty that he promises to love and pamper her as long as she marries him.

The two move to Eatonville, and Joe becomes the town's mayor. The control and power of his new position gets to his head and he ends up treating Janie more as a pet rather than a wife. Hurston was born on January 7, 1891, and published "Their Eyes Were Watching God" in 1937.

At the age of three, Hurston moved to Eatonville, Florida, along with her family. And later her father actually became the mayor.

Around the 1920s, during the age of the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston became inspired to be one of the many African American authors to write about their heritage and culture.

Harlem Renaissance:
Sudden increase in African American creative arts, such as poetry, novels, music, dance, and art.

She didn't particularly address racism of whites towards blacks in her work. Hurston believed more in the idea that blacks could gain sovereignty from white society. Logan (a farmer) is Janie's first husband.

She is pressured into marrying him due to her grandmother's influence (a former slave). She always told Janie that she should plan to marry a white man because she will always have someone who will look after her.

Logan is deeply in love with Janie, but he never expresses it, so Janie doesn't feel the same way about him. She feels that perhaps later on in the marriage she will develop feelings for him. But she never does. Their Eyes Were Watching God Lack of Power in Women
Ever since she was little, Janie was constantly reminded that as soon as she reached adulthood, she should marry a man to take care of her.

Once she became married to Joe, Janie was treated more as an insolent woman without a brain.

Janie is also both physically and emotionally abused by Joe and Tea Cake. Hair Tie:
When she was with Joe, he always ordered her to keep her hair up and never let it down.
But when she was with Tea Cake, he wanted her to leave her hair down. Treatment of Blacks
Black segregation is continuously present in many scenes throughout the novel:
Janie's grandmother told her that she would have to marry a white man to be cared for.
When meeting Joe, he and Janie move to an all black town.
After the flood, two white officers order Tea Cake to bury corpses.
When they bury the corpses, they just bury the blacks, but make coffins for the whites. Tea Cake is Janie's third husband.

The two act more like best friends rather than a married couple. He allows Janie to be more care free when she is with him, such as fishing at night, shooting, and letting her hair down.

After he dies, Janie realizes how much of an influence he really was on her. Overall, it is Tea Cake and his actions that makes Janie progress into an independent woman. By: Zora Neale Hurston Symbol Theme: The Abuse of Power Can Change People. Tea Cake THEME: Societal Pressure Influences One's Actions. Janie is only 16 when she marries Logan. Plus, she didn't even love him. Her decision to marry him was solely based off of her grandmother's demand. All of the poverty-stricken blacks were jealous of Janie for marrying such a man of high status. Symbol Pear Tree:
Before she married Logan, she used to lay under a pear tree in her grandmother's owner's backyard.

Fascinated with the passionate interaction among the bees in the tree, it symbolizes her search for true love and her inner soul. Once Joe becomes mayor, his personality starts to change and he isn't the same man that Janie fell in love with. He is in desperate need to control everything that goes on in the town. Mule:
Joe rescues a beaten up, aged mule from an abusive owner and sets the mule free.

Joe's action represents the kindness that he still had in his heart, despite his need for power. Connections On Joe's death bed, Janie decides to have a talk with him, telling him that she wishes that he would have met the real Janie instead of the woman that he turned her into. In the middle of her speech, Joe dies while cursing her. We connected this situation to "The Fountainhead", because it is similar to when Keating wanted Heyer's firm position and threatened him for it, but accidentally gave Heyer a stroke. Theme:
Independence Trumps Dependence. Theme: The Future is Unpredictable. Logan, Joe, and even her own grandmother all agree that Janie needs to depend on a man throughout her life. But it isn't until Tea Cake marries her that she realizes just how independent she is when she is around him. Throughout the novel, Janie is constantly thrown back by surprising events that she never planned would have happened:
Meeting Tea Cake and moving to the 'Glades.
The hurricane that later contributes to Tea Cake's death.
Janie's search for independence is over. Represents: Janie's independent and dependent states Symbol Hurricane:
During the hurricane, Janie and many other characters in the novel question to God what they have done in order to suffer through such a horrific storm. Represents: The evil things in life that can occur at a moment's notice. Also shown as an antithesis of nature. Hurston's Use of Dialect & Diction Being from the South herself, Hurston used the traditional rural, Southern dialect during the early 1900s.

Hurston only uses the Southern dialect when her characters are speaking. When she is narrating the novel, she writes in the proper and regular grammar. Her style of writing also reflects her culture and heritage. "Thank yuh fuh yo' compliments, but mah wife don't know nothin' 'bout no speech-makin'. Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's uh woman and her place is in de home" (Hurston 43). Cell Block Tango (He Had It Comin') - Chicago Roxie Hart is cheating on her husband, and stabs and kills her boyfriend. She goes to prison, and she meets these women. These are their stories.
Catherine Zeta-Jones; Susan Misner; Deidre Goodwin; Denise Faye; Ekaterina Chtchelkanova; Mya Harrison; Taye Diggs The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement between the 1920's and 1930's. The spread of African American literature's prime was about 1924. Its end began in 1929 due to the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. The very first stage began in the late 1910s. "The Help" & "To Kill a Mockingbird" "They sat in company with the others in other shanties, their eyes straining against crude walls and their souls asking if He meant to measure their puny might against His. They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God" (Hurston, 160). Marriage Laws and Jim Crow Laws Thermostat? Or Thermometer? The novel "The Help" expresses the idea of the black segregation present in the 1930s and the rural, Southern dialect.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" also serves as a connection because it shows the innocence of an accused black person (Tom Robinson). The Great Depression In the decade following World War II, from the late 1930s to the middle 1940s, a nationwide depression began after the crash in the stock prices on October 29, 1929.
The Great Depression didn't just effect the poor, but the rich as well. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%.
Unemployment throughout the nation rose to 25%. In other countries, a rise as high as 33% was seen. Those dependent on heavy industry were affected the most.
Construction was suspended almost everywhere, while farming and rural areas suffered due to a 60% drop in crop prices. Harlem Renaissance Art Langston Hughes photograph

Taken by: Carl Van Vechten 1936 Alternate Art Cover:
Their Eyes Were Watching God ChainGang William H. Johnson 1918 This shows that even though Blacks were not slaves, they were still treated like them.

This is related to Nanny's fears about Janie growing up in the world, which leads to her arranged marriage to Logan. Harlem Renaissance Jazz music was born during this time period. Swing became popular in the 1930s when the book was written. The second and fourth beats were accented. Listen for it in this example! In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, an American court in 1896 ruled that African Americans were, in fact, allowed to marry each other.

However, one Jim Crow Law in Florida concerning interracial marriages states, "All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited."

It wasn't until 1967 in the Loving v. Virginia case that the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage legal in all of America. Langston was an artist and poet of the
Harlem Renaissance.

This shows cameras existed in this time
period but were still black and white. Photographer: Anonymous Poor People This alternate art cover is a watercolor painting.

It depicts Janie underneath the pear tree, a major symbol within the book. This is a black and white photograph.

It shows poverty amongst African Americans.
Ragged, dirty clothes. Thermostat:
Even though Hurston's work was never truly recognized or appreciated until after her death, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" still serves as a thermostat.

Hurston was trying to portray to her audience the lack of women's and blacks' rights. Quick Plot Synopsis African American woman in her early forties named Janie Crawford tells her life story and journey through an elongated flashback to her best friend, Pheoby. Pheoby clears Janie’s name from the intrusive and gossiping community on her behalf by reiterating Janie’s story. Janie’s life has three major periods corresponding to her marriages to three very different men.
Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, gave birth to Janie’s mother, Leafy. Leafy’s school teacher later rapes her and impregnates her with Janie.
Janie runs away with Joe after Nanny’s arranged marriage with a local farmer, Logan, fails. Logan wants a domestic partner, not a lover; something Janie truly desires. Quick Plot Synopsis (continued) Once Joe becomes mayor of Eatonville, Janie comes to the realization that she’s just a trophy wife and she’s not truly in love.
Janie later falls in love with a drifter named Tea Cake when he swoons her with his guitar playing. The two marry and move to the Everglades to find Tea Cake employment. Janie has finally found the true romance she’s been searching for.
Tea Cake later contracts rabies from a loose dog and begins to lose his mind. He and Janie get into an altercation and he attempts to shoot her with a pistol but she kills him with a rifle in self-defense.
Janie’s charged with murder, but gets acquitted with the help of local white women. Tea Cake’s friends forgive her for the incident and allow her to live back in the Everglades, but she decides to move back to Eatonville instead. Because Eatonville is full of gossipers, rumors and stories fly around about Janie’s past. This is where the story begins. Cinderella - Cheetah Girls Down and Out -
The Academy Is... Written by the lead singer, William Becket, about his parents' abusive relationship. "Us lived dere havin' fun till de chillun at school got to teasin' me 'bout livin' in de white folks' back-yard. Dere wuz uh knotty gal name Mayrella dat useter git mad every time she look at me" (Hurston, 9). THANKS FOR PAYING ATTENTION Jazz Music Theme:
Love is valued more than money. Janie does not truly love Logan, who was a wealthy farmer of higher social status and white.
Janie also doesn't find true love with Jody -- mayor of Eatonville with high respect, power, and money.
However, when Janie meets Tea Cake, a poor black man trying to search for employment, she falls madly in love with him. Connections within the Novel When Janie was married to Tea Cake, she used to tell him that he was "the bee to her blossom".
This nickname can be brought back to the pear tree that Janie used to lay under when she was a child, while watching the bees interact with one another within the tree's blossoms. AND NOT SLEEPING
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