Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

1719 words - 7 pages

"Two passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, and the search for knowledge..." -Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970), Autobiography Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Report It is these shared passions by all of humanity that brings together the naive and the experienced in an effort to convey the human spirit. Throughout the course of the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston discusses how her main protagonist, Janie Crawford, adheres to these passions in her quest for self-identity in a world in which there is one overriding factor working against her, her sex. And yet, despite whatever challenges she was faced with, in the end, Janie finds herself through the genuine love of another.Janie Crawford's initial exposure to love and marriage is slim at best, with her knowledge of herself only nominally better. As a child, she never truly understood that she is different until it is pointed out in a picture. And that comes as a surprise, since "before [she] thought [she] wuz just like de rest"(9). Growing up around people who were not similar to her, nor able to empathize completely with her plight, Janie was left alone to find her own way and forge her own path. Her first attempts at finding herself were cut short early, as her experiment in kissing Johnny Taylor was cut short by her Nanny, and she was alone without anyone to talk to about the budding emotions within her. Her fascination with the blossoming pear tree is reflective of the blossoming within her, something that "stirred her immensely"(10), but was utterly alien, and utterly beautiful. And by the time she married Logan Killicks, she was utterly unprepared.Janie never knew what love was, so she never knew what to expect. She was told that with marriage will come love, and so she believed that. Being opposed to the marriage in the beginning, she was eventually resigned to her fate under the belief that it wouldn't be too bad if she grew to love Killicks. But after marrying Killicks, she discovered that "marriage did not come with love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman"(25). This was a crucial step towards breaking those illusions she held at the age of 16, that life could be unfair and that love doesn't come easily. And like all marriages, eventually the flair of romance and wonder went out of it and the harsh reality set in. Killick's held a valid point in assuming that Janie was spoiled, but conversely, he demanded too much too quickly of her. He threw her into a domestic position when all she wanted was to wander and live, still unused to having to labor for a living and more willing to make candies to eat for herself. Killicks was attempting to chain her to the kitchens with marriage and to seal the deal by forcing her to wear an apron, like a good housewife should. By the point Janie encountered Joe Starks, she was desperate for anything better, anything that would more resemble her girlhood fantasies than...

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