Their eyes were watching god Essay

Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zora Neale Hurston, was set during the early

1900’s. This book was published near the end of the Harlem Renaissance when artists began to

stand up for themselves and make themselves known. Many of the authors from this time period",

generally wrote about black culture and identity. Their Eyes Were Watching God, reveals a

personal story of how Janie fought to be free to do as she wished in her relationships and did not

want to be smothered in any way.

While Janie was in a relationship with Logan, she very soon realized that she was not

going to fall in love with him. It was noted that “She knew now that marriage did not make love.

Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” (3.31) displaying that Janie knew that

just because she married Logan, did not mean that she had to love him. Nanny wanted to see

Janie to marry Logan and live a good lifestyle before she passed away. After her death, Janie felt

the need to stay with Logan, until he got upset that she didn’t help him care for the 60 acres of

land and he threatened to kill her. Janie then ran away to start a new life with Joe.

As Joe’s wife, Janie lived the white lifestyle that was wished upon her. Joe and Janie

moved to the city of Eatonville, where Joe quickly bought 200 acres of land and became the

mayor of the city. Here Janie felt trapped since all she did was live in Joe’s shadow and cared for

the shop and household. Everyone noted how badly Joe would treat her and how confining he

was towards Janie, never allowing her to wear her hair down or socialize. As Joe was getting

older, his health started to deteriorate along with his looks and when in an argument with Jeanie",

she called him out and said “When you pull down yo’ britches, you look lak de change uh life."

(7.22) resulting in a slap in front of his company. After being married to Joe for over half her

life, she realized that she had no freedom whatsoever. As the years went on of neglect and abuse",

Joe soon after passed away from his old age and health problems. This left Janie a rich widow as

her husband who was the richest man and mayor of the town, passed away and left her his riches",

which she eventually gave up running away with Tea Cake.

Hesitant at first, Janie fell in love with Tea Cake deeper by the day and finally felt free. In

her relationship with Tea Cake, she finally learned what it was like to be in love with the one you

are married to. As Tea Cake’s wife, Janie learned to work alongside him and help contribute to

the household. Along with being able to work, Janie also learned how to shoot and became a

better shot than Tea Cake. Janie was enjoying the satisfaction with her life. Janie befriended Mrs.

Turner who desperately wanted to introduce Janie to her brother. Mrs. Turner views Janie as

being “whiter” than her and even went as far to show her disapproval of marrying Tea Cake by

saying "You got mo’ nerve than me. Ah jus’ couldn’t see mahself married to no black man. It’s

too many black folks already. We oughta lighten up de race." (16.10) She clearly thinks that

Janie has married beneath herself and should have married “white”. Tea Cake was irate enough

to hit Janie when he heard the news of Mrs. Turner trying to introduce her brother and wanted a

way to get her out of their lives. A big hurricane comes and in the process of trying to escape",

Tea Cake was bitten by a rabid dog, and because he waited so long for treatment, there was

nothing the doctors could do. Once Tea Cake found out the news, he was remorseful towards

Janie and tried to show her how much he loved and cared for her. He also tried to shoot her, but

not before Janie with her gun skills and wittiness, shot him first. After Tea Cake’s death, Janie

finally felt free and at peace.

Throughout Janie’s relationships, she always felt trapped and she wanted free of her

husbands. Through Logan and Joe, Janie finally realized what it was like to finally love and care

for someone once she met Tea Cake. Throughout her relationships, she learned that the “white

lifestyle” wasn't for her and that she felt very smothered. Janie found that she thrives in

relationships where she has an equal role and is treated as more or less an equal. Their Eyes Were

Watching God ends with Janie finally being free of her husband’s criticisms and to finally live

life how she wanted it.

How to cite this essay: