Analysis Of Janie's Discovery Of Happiness And Individuality In Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Janie’s Discovery of Happiness and Individuality
Being trapped in a bad relationship or marriage often leads to great unhappiness. In the 1930s, traditional marriages were the norm. Women often married for status and their spouses gained controlled of their major life decisions. Zora Neale Hurston addresses the unhappiness that can come from an unsuccessful marriage in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The protagonist, Janie finds out that “people go tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves” through her experiences in multiple marriages. Janie learns to live for herself and finally achieve happiness through her discontented relationship with Logan, the submissiveness she feels from Joe’s need for dominance, and the sense of control she receives
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When Janie first met Joe he gave the impression as someone who would set her interests first, telling her, “You come go wid me. Den all de rest of yo’ natural life you kin live lak you oughta”(28). Promising to treat her well, Joe seemed to fit Janie’s vision of the life that she wanted. But what Janie truly wanted was an escape from her current condition, living with Logan: “Even if Joe was not there waiting for her, the change was bound to do her good”(41). Janie uses Joe as a way to grab a little more control of her life. Janie gives up Logan, the man her grandmother set up for her, in the hopes of discovering a married life where she can blossom. But, as Janie tries to express herself in her new marriage, she realizes that Joe’s dominance still traps her: “Time came when she fought back with her tongue as best she could, but it didn’t do her any good. It just made Joe do more. He wanted her submission and he’d keep on fighting until he felt he had it”(67). Despite her best attempts, Janie finds herself trapped in another unhappy marriage. Joe does not let Janie to have any freedom due to his own jealousy and pride. So Janie becomes known as Joe’s submissive wife, not being her own person for more than twenty years. After Joe dies, Janie decides to make a change in her life and live freely, under no one’s control but her own: …show more content…
When Janie meets Tea Cake he treats her as an equal, a new experience for Janie, when he shows her how to play checkers: “He set it up and began to show her and she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play”(91-92). Tea Cake is the polar opposite of Janie’s previous husband, Joe, who never even considered letting her play checkers. Janie has finally met a man who will listen to what she wants and the way she wants to live. Tea Cake lets Janie live for herself, so she starts dressing in blue to please Tea Cake. But, Janie’s new attire contradicts the mourning clothes that society pressures Janie to wear: “De world picked out black and white for mournin’, Joe didn’t. So Ah was wearn’ it for him. Ah was wearin’ it for de rest of y’all”(108). When Janie stops wearing mourning clothes, it reveals how she does not care what the townspeople think of her anymore. Janie wants to live happily with Tea Cake, no matter what other people say. After all of her marriages, Janie has learned that instead of yearning for power and status like her grandmother believed, she should put her own desires first: “[Grandmother] didn’t have time tuh think whut to do after you got up on de stool uh do nothin’… Ah got up on de high stool lak she told me… Ah done nearly languished tuh death up dere”(109). When Janie

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