Zora Neale Hurston Women's Role In Society

On a dusty road in Eatonville lies a general store with a porch. Sitting, black, wisecracking men banter over each other’s shortcomings, play checkers, and enjoy food. Behind the open door, in the muggy shade of summer, sits a lone woman, sitting, wishing, waiting. Waiting for something more, something to change in this relationship of a “love” lost long ago. This woman, Janie, stands and glides to the melting light of a golden sunset, bringing food and drinks to the men outside. Her sullen look could burn logs, if only it had dry flint to observe. Janie quietly realizes she chose the wrong life and man.Through her explorations of a black woman’s role in society in the early 1900s via Janie’s relationships, the author, Zora Neale Hurston, …show more content…
Her decision to move directly from Logan to Joe with no time in between illustrates how women perceived themselves in the era as needing men by their side. Again, Hurston emphasises a new segment of Janie’s life through the metaphor of a gatepost. Hurston’s writing that Janie “hung over the gate,” (25) demonstrates the unwell state that her marriage with Logan left her in. Because she decides that she would be happier with sweet talking Jody than with Logan and because she knew her actions would receive little to zero societal brushback, she leaves Logan and the safety of his 60 acres. Again, she hoped love would follow them to Eatonville as Joe created a whole new world in which they could live. The naiveté that Nanny feared reappears as Janie 's hopes to live with Joe until death with “flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything” (32). Janie quickly realizes her gaffe to have married Joe as he denies her a voice, yet her respect for society and what Joe is and what he has created is too much for her to overcome and break the painful, suffocating bonds of the marriage. As with the opening image, her voice is all but removed entirely as she lives and breaths as not only a trophy, but also as a …show more content…
She has no expectations. When love lands in her lap she is hesitant to grab it, afraid it will take her on familiar loveless paths.. In one of his first few interactions with Janie, Tea Cake jokes about Janie’s use of her lips, yet her response of “Ah make use of ‘em whenever it’s necessary, but nothin’ special to me,” (103) - possibly seen as simple flirtatious banter - reveals how she forgot the significance of real love. In her past relationships, Janie kissed her men out of tradition, expectation, obligation, but here she doesn’t know what she’s feeling and she’s hesitant because of its peculiarity. This feeling, though, is genuine attraction. That she “thought resisting thoughts about Tea Cake,” (106) and “ridiculed” (106) him illustrates not only how she cannot get him off of her mind, but also her attempts to make herself avoid this new feeling. Moreover, as she knows “love” following her relationship with Joe, it was not a pleasurable experience. As the relationship progresses, Janie realizes for herself the significance of that feeling, but she cannot fully buy into Tea Cake as she is still battered from her relationship with

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