Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel by Zora Neale Hurston. An African American creator who was born in Notasulga Alabama, on January 7, 1891. The epic researches conventional sexual orientation based jobs and the association among individuals. Nanny have confidence in that Janie ought to marry a gentleman not for affection yet in its place for ‘security. Janie’s underlying dual lifetime associates, Logan Killicks and Jody Starks, both trust Janie would be designated by her matrimonial to them. The binary males requisite her to be equipped and tranquil. Her talk, or quietness, is described by her corporeal sectors, routinely a young lady with a liberal upbringing and moderate physical features, she expects much in life, yet comes to understand that individuals must find out about existence ‘fuh they selves’ (for themselves), similarly as humans can go to God for themselves. She was an accomplished writer who has generated much approbation and debate as an. Therefore this article focuses on the story of Janie’s life, a young woman who is struggling to find her identity and to gain independence.
It begins with her staying with her grandmother, Nanny who sets her up with a man named Logan Kellicks in an obligatory marriage (Bloom, 11). Logan treats her like a kid and does everything for her. Logan later changes and even compares Janie to his first wife as he condemns her for not being proactive in doing home chores. When Logan threatens to kill Janie, she flees with Joe Starks. Joe and Janie move to Eatonville. Starks becomes the Mayor and restricts Janie to definitive women roles despite her occupying the space of a mayor’s wife. Later she married Tea Cake, a younger man than her. With him, she is happy and independent. Tea Cake contracted rabies and becomes violent with Janie, who kills him out of self-defense. Without a long journey, Janie wouldn’t have found her true self.
When Janie’s grandmother saw her kissing a Johnny Tailor, she got angry and confronted her. She scolded her and after the argument decides to marry her off to Logan Killicks against her wish. “Taint Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, its protection. Ah, ain’t gittin’ ole, Honey. Ah, being done ole (35). Nanny doesn’t give her a choice to continue studying and marries her off without considering her feeling. She strengthens the stereotype that women are defenseless without men. When Janie later returns to her grandmother to inform her about her love life, Nanny retorts “ain’t no use in cryin’, Janie. Grandma has done been long uh few roads herself. Better leave the things de way dey is. Youse young yet. Wait a while, baby. Yo’ mind will change (Bloom,19), (42). Instead of encouraging her granddaughter, Nanny allows Janie to continue to be in a loveless marriage.
Killick doesn’t give Janie any room to be independent. He confronts her when Janie refuses to do chores such as chopping firewood. “if Ah kin hauls de wood head and chop it fuh yuh, look lak, you ought to be able to tote it inside. Mah Fust wife never bothered me about chopping’ any wood no how. You have done been spoilt rotten.” Yo’ grandma and me myself done spoilt you now, and Ah reckon AH have tuh keep on wid it.” (43). This attitude shows that Killick treated Janie as a kid who had to obey him submissively. When kellick compared Janie to his first wife, he did not give room for Janie to independently be herself since he did not care about her feelings. Threatening her when she expressed herself also shows how Killick treated Janie as property but not as a wife.” you ain’t got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh. Git move on yuh, and dat quick.” (46) Killick even threatens to kill her after an argument when he felt that Janie was low rating him. Ah, I’ll take an ax and come in dere and kill yuh!” (47). Janie, therefore, found herself in a slave master relationship.
Janie’s next love interest, Joe, also believes in gender role stereotypes and strongly believes women belong at home. When Joe is elected mayor, Tony suggests that Mrs. Mayor Starks Joe abruptly cuts short the applause and take to the floor himself. “Thank yuh fuh compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no speech-making’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lack data. She’s uh woman and her place are de home.” Joe doesn’t believe in his wife’s capabilities or even making a speech. During the incident of the mule when Janie confronts her husband about the way the mule was ill-treated, it’s Hambo who compliments Janie as being born an orator. When Joe grew old, he became fractious with Janie. The more people were present during their interactions, the more he ridiculed Janie’s to avert attention on his failing body.
When Joe dies, Janie finds independence in widowhood. She gets the time to play checkers and participate in other activities such as joining her younger lover, Tea Cake in his favorite activities like hunting, fishing. Moreover, she expressed herself in her favorite colors such as blue and pink as a result of Tea cake’s influence on her. She had the freedom to choose what she wanted to do. Many people in the community started commenting on her changed nature and disapproved of her relationship with Tea Cake. They thought it was too soon as Mayor Stark had been dead for only nine months. Despite this attitude from her fellow townsfolk, Janie continued to enjoy her freedom, combing her hair differently each day and wearing new dresses.
Everybody thought that Tea Cake was by her side to prey on her money and fled with the loot. Janie defends her freedom when people start saying that the cupcake is dragging her everywhere. “He ain’t dragging’ me off nowhere Ah don’t want to go. Ah always don’t want to go. Ah always did want tuh git round uh the whole heap, but Joe wouldn’t ‘low me tuh.”(101). After killing Tea Cake in self-defense, a group of black male friends of Tea Cake gangs up against her in court and condemn her, but an all-white jury sets her free. Women empowerment and self-realization are evident as a group of women comes to court to defend her. Tea Cake also gave Janie freedom to realize herself and to love him freely and express her anger in moments of jealousy. She even at one time chased Tea Cake in sugarcane plantations after suspecting him of an affair with another woman.
Janie is chasing down her personality all through the novel. In the entire book, Janie is habitual without a voice concerning her life partners as she won’t contest back. She is seen as detached from another females in the novel who seek after the ethnicities set up and don’t find a sincere presence self-sufficient of men. Janie’s femininity is a fountain of distrust fin cooperation with “Starks and Tea Cake” who disregarded this woman on behalf of her appearances. Starks instructed Janie to shield her hair as other males saw it a source of interest. So moreover, Tea Cake recognises about Janie’s nimbler skin and her anticipation to Mrs. Turner’s families. Janie discovers her prospect as a lady after the passing of Tea Cake. This woman proceeds to Eatonville through her hair depressed, and she assembles individually yard discussing with her companion Pheoby. This woman has conquered the common occupations of a female earlier the conclusion of the novel, this way building up an image of the “liberated dim woman.
It is through this long journey that Janie’s growth as a woman is realized. She matures from a timid young woman fantasizing about love and being independent to an outspoken woman. She expresses her opinions to the three men who have married her. Killick and Jody could not bear her talking back at them and would in most instances not take it lightly. Tea Cake’s simple, but the meaningful relationship with Janie, however, helped the latter find her true self. Janie’s self-expression would see her collide with many who thought that women do not belong to the public sphere of life. Instead, they should be submissive to men. Janie rises above all gender stereotypes to be free and in full control of her life.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Infobase Publishing, 2008.