Essay Title: 

Examine the relationship between Janie and Logan, Janie and Joe, and Janie and Tea Cake. How are they alike? How are they different?

April 2, 2016 | Author: | Posted in literature and language

Marriage and Self-Affirmation in

Their Eyes Were Watching God

The search for self and for what makes one happy is certainly central to all human beings . Therefore , this theme is also central in literature . In Hurston ‘s Their Eyes Were Watching God , Janie Crawford ‘s life is spent seeking her own sense of self and love . For example , she tells her friend Phoeby that people have to find their own truth they got tuh find out about livin ‘ fuh theyselves (Hurston 183 . Janie ‘s life is a journey that is represented in [banner_entry_middle]

different ways by her three marriages in the novel . Even though the first two marriages fail and the third ends prematurely , all three of these marriages serve to create the real Janie and to mold her into the person she was meant to be Her first marriage to Logan Killicks is not one of Janie ‘s choosing her nanny made this choice , so it is not surprising that it is a complete failure . After Janie is caught kissing a local boy , she is prescribed to marry Killicks because he is merely an available man with a farm and some money . However , the teenager Janie calls this marriage destructive and mouldy (Hurston 20 . Although her nanny ‘s goal of finding Janie a secure future , she is treated as a mere possession by this much older man . However , after deciding to leave him , Janie is able to exert her freedom to choose and begin her search for love and self-identity . Her misery and lifelessness at the hands of Logan leads her to yearn for true love even more . Her first independent choice is that of Jody Starks . He attracts her partly because of his stylish dress and intelligent personality which is much different from Logan ‘s country attire and manner . She is quick to marry him and accompany him to Eatonville where they are ready to make a change for black people in an all-black town . Janie realizes that she doesn ‘t love Jody , but she hopes that love will come along later

However , soon Janie begins to realize that Jody ‘s feelings about women are not much different from Killicks despite their differences on the outside , they both see women as mere adornments . Janie ‘s role is to serve Jody , who she compares to a god : It was inevitable that she should accept any inconsistency and cruelty from her deity as all good worshippers do from theirs (Hurston , Ch 16 . Sadly , Janie is less emotionally free now than she thought she would be . Joe comments that She ‘s uh woman and her place is in de home (Hurston 40 . Janie must now accept this choice . Soon Janie realizes that his goals and her goals are not the same . She begins to feel far away from things and lonely (44 . He even forces her to alter her appearance by wearing her hair up in a scarf . This severely limits her own personal freedoms When Janie realizes that she is just a trophy to him , she fights back by insulting him in front of his friends and announces that that he “ain ‘t de Jody ah run off down de road wid . You ‘se whut ‘s left after he died (82 . Luckily , perhaps , for Janie , Jody becomes ill and dies , at which point Janie , after mourning in an obligatory fashion , rips the scarf from her head and emerges a free woman . Janie ‘s choice for her third marriage partner is the most scandalous marriage of all , and would have been very upsetting for her Nanny . However , it is the most fulfilling of her marriages . Her next lover , Tea Cake , is much younger than she is . With him , Janie discovers a physical and emotional awakening inside . She remarks that she feels like a child breaking rules (Hurston 98 ) and exerts her independence by claiming that she would not be married for business or money but this time for love . This view was a deviation from the ways of her nanny and even the individuals in Eatonville . She says , Ah done lived Grandma ‘s way , now Ah means tuh live mine (108 . She is fully ready to find the freedom she deserves- freedom to love and to develop her own sense of self and hopes her marriage to Tea Cake will provide her that very opportunity to achieve love and contentment . Janie and Tea Cake leave the traditional constraints of Eatonville and head off to live in the swamplands and work in the muck . Here , Jane feels the most free she has ever felt . Instead of feeling like .a rut in the road . Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels (Hurston 72 , she can “listen and laugh and even talk some herself if she wanted to (128 . These feelings are a direct result of the way Tea Cake makes her feel like a woman and are an example of her enlightened feelings of freedom and identity now that she has found a man to truly love and a place where she can be herself . Of course , she and Tea Cake have their problems , one when Janie feared a young rival was after him and one when Mrs . Turner insulted Tea Cake ‘s blackness . Along with love come these negative feelings of jealousy and anger , but they , too are side effects of how much she loves Tea Cake . As a result , both of these initially negative situations only solidify their relationship revealing a level of maturity not found in Janie ‘s either of her former marriages to Jody or Logan . Of course , Fate deals a sad blow to Janie and Tea Cake , culminating in Janie ‘s shooting him for self-defense . She is forced to take the life of her love because his rabies has made him homicidally insane . This act of Fate reminds Janie that she is not 100 free to do whatever he s . She cries after the shooting and poignantly thanks him for allowing her to experience true love , which had been the goal of her journey , all along , and possibly , the goal of everyone ‘s journey . When she returns home , having come full circle , she confides to Pheoby that So Ah ‘m back home agin and Ah ‘m satisfied tuh be heah . Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons (Hurston 182 . Her comparisons will be to the things she learned from each marriage . Logan taught her that marriage should be a personal choice Jody taught her how she didn ‘t want to be and feel while Tea Cake taught her the feelings of true love . Janie herself expressed it best when she described her feelings for Tea Cake as a self-crushing love ‘ that allowed her soul to crawl out from its hiding place (Hurston 122 . Janie ‘s search for herself involved a literal journey from home to Eatonville to the Everglades and a figurative journey from oppression to true love . In the end , Janie did find , through these marriages , what she and her soul were looking for – freedom to be her own person . Janie ‘s first marriage was designed so that Janie might avoid the horrible lives that her nanny and her own mother experienced . However , because it was not her own choice , Janie was not fulfilled by the marriage to Logan Killicks . Her next marriage to Jody was of her own choice , but it still was heavily influenced by Nanny ‘s values of seeking out wealth and security . Because Janie ultimately rejects these values , this marriage does not serve her desire for freedom and love either . Only her marriage to Tea Cake shows Janie her true self . She loves him and finally experiences the real emotions of love . Her killing him in self defense is very sad , but she returns home to tell Phoeby that she is happy with what she has done and who she has become . Jane has found herself

Work Cited

Hurston , Zora Neale . Their Eyes Were Watching God . New York : Harper Collins , 2000 … [banner_entry_footer]


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