Relationships In John Steinbeck's Their Eyes Were Watching God

Improved Essays
Relationships between characters often give us a peek into the overall message that a book is trying to get across. This is is especially obvious between the parents and children in As I Lay Dying. This dynamic is mirrored through the implicit parental relationship between Janie and Pheoby in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The decaying relationship between Addie and Darl in As I Lay Dying represents the deterioration of the Bundren family as well as the pessimistic nature of the book, while the fulfilling relationship between Janie and Pheoby represents the growth of the characters as well as the optimistic nature of the book.
Darl’s and Addie’s relationship begins in a seemingly stable place in the novel, with Darl being perceived as conflicted
…show more content…
The relationship between Janie and Pheoby has evolved since Janie started this story, and it's clear from the way that their exchange changes. The initially curious Pheoby is now fulfilled by Janie’s story, learning and growing in a similar, but less nuanced manner as Janie. While Pheoby may not experience all of this growth during Janie's story, Janie’s motherly advice and installation of values are setting her on a journey of her own. This idea of a personal journey leading to emotional growth and fulfillment is evident throughout the novel, and the fact that this relationship sets Pheoby off on another journey is a continuation of the novel's message. The first passage of the book is also revisited in this conversation with Janie’s mention of the shores and how everyone’s journey is different. While it may be an instant parallel, Pheoby’s intention to have same take Sam fishing clearly is a unique “shore” to reach. While Tea Cake does take Janie fishing, the meaning of it to them is different than the meaning of it to Pheoby, thus fitting the metaphor of the shores. Pheoby and Janie are a non-traditional daughter and mother relationship, and the growth in the novel is also non-traditional, taking many forms, but ultimately leading to …show more content…
The development of Addie’s character through her monologue leads to the realization that her relationship with Darl isn’t as stable as it seems, while Darl setting the fire shows that their relationship ultimately leads to disaster. The major themes that are shown through their relationship require a little more reading into, but they are clearly there. Conversely, the element of growth that runs throughout Hurston’s novel is shown quite openly throughout Janie and Pheoby’s relationship. They directly discuss Janie’s growth, and Janie encourages Pheoby to find her shore. Their whole discussion at the beginning and end of the novel is meant to foreshadow and conclude Janie’s journey, so the themes are evident throughout their relationship.
The look we get into the stories themes through these parent relationship varies. Whether it is an evolving and partial look, like through Addie and Darl, or a Direct and complete look, like through Janie and Pheoby, we still see more of the author's intention when we take a closer look. Through whatever means, Addie and Darl show us Faulkner's theme of tragedy and pessimism, while Janie and Pheoby show us Hurston’s theme of Growth and

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    It is used to help draw the reader in, to make the reader feel like they truly understand the characters in the book. John Grisham does a wonderful job at this in his novel Calico Joe, by adding emotional passages based on what the characters felt, by explaining how characters felt, but not in cold, callous way, but in a way that struck the reader. He especially did this with Paul’s mother, talking about just how bad the marriage was between Warren and Paul’s mother, and how long she endured it -- even while he abused her children. While he bases the story on Paul’s experiences, he also has a seemingly unintentionally focuses on Paul’s mother, because of how important she was to him during his childhood. Sympathy is but one of the tools used by John Grisham, but is certainly a powerful and noticeable…

    • 1057 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    (Didion 8) The novel as a whole is essentially about Maria, her life's uncertainties, and how she deals with it. The title acts as a metaphor for the book and the language only supports the metaphor. Its meaning changes for us throughout the book as we grow with Maria when "something real was happening: this was, as it were, her life. If she could keep that in mind she would be able to play it through, do the right thing, whatever that meant" (41). Didion doesn't want us to forget this metaphor and she makes sure of that by sprinkling it throughout her text by italicizing "as it was" (147) and "play it through" (54).…

    • 2170 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    George, who is apart of the emmerson family, is one of the main example of how lucy’s opinions change over the course of the novel. In the beginning of the novel Lucy is appalled by the Emersons easy going nature and Mr.Emmerson brash communication skills, but as the novel continues Lucy finds herself liking the family greatly and having and confused adoration for George. This shift in opinion of a group of characters is not entirely unique to a Room With a View but Forster is able to makes the internal changes especially interesting by separating Lucy’s thoughts between her heart and her mind. This internal conflict is much more interesting as it allows the reader see the battle of heart and mind though Lucy’s interactions with characters like the emmerson and her changing thoughts about them. Another character that Lucy interacts greatly with is her other suitor Cecil.…

    • 1008 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Lovely Bones Criticism

    • 1983 Words
    • 8 Pages

    What made The Lovely Bones such a significant read was the first perspective narration. Susie was able to provide intel about each character and how they dealt with the loss of their daughter or sister. Though Susie was a reliable source, I however, would become an unreliable audience due to the way I read the book. This was because my reader response to certain characters and events. By applying the chapters “Psychoanalytic Criticism” and “Reader- response Criticism,” from Lois Tyson’s novel Critical Theory Today, I was able to understand grief through the first person perspective, and how the Salmon family handled and resolved their grief.…

    • 1983 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In The Diary of Anne Frank you get a feeling of hope, optimism, even knowing that the outcome is not a favorable one. In Catcher in The Rye it’s almost impossible to miss the sarcasm that is present throughout the book. Every book has a certain attitude about it, its tone, that varies from author to author depending upon the feelings that the author felt when writing that scene. For Anne Frank when writing her diary, she felt hopeful that one day her family would be able to come out of hiding, which explains the optimistic tone of the diary. For Salinger, he wanted to narrate the life of a boy observing and criticizing the world around him, resulting in a tone that is undeniably sarcastic.…

    • 647 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This line is also a representation of the change in Elizabeth throughout the story. When we are first introduced to John and Elizabeth there is an evident awkward tension, caused by the affair, between them, but as the story goes on their dying love for each other becomes more prominent. At the beginning it is obvious Elizabeth is unsupportive and judgmental of John’s choices, but after she says that it is clear her opinions on John have changed. The Crucible by Arthur Miller is a story full of lies, love, and hysteria. The character of Elizabeth Proctor helps develop love as a theme, as well as providing the story with a level-header character to implement honesty, yet still show the consequences of lying.…

    • 1089 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Nevertheless, as relationships were cultivated she was thrust into Deborah and the Lacks family’s story. A theme in the story was the ethics in journalism, and due to Skloot and Deborah’s research excursions it was vital she be included. The dynamic of their relationship transformed greatly, which is evidenced by Deborah’s term of endearment towards Skloot, calling her “my reporter.” On Skloot’s website she wrote, “In the end, I realized it would be dishonest of me to leave myself out of the book. It wasn’t about me inserting myself into their story, it was about admitting that I had become a character in their story without realizing…

    • 846 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Since the start of the story, I felt like Jane had confidence and the ability to speak for herself. The author, Brontë, changes the way the reader thinks about Jane, at times I think Jane reveals her inner-weakness and feelings, but at times I feel like Jane is very smart, mature, and responsible. Jane never experienced proper treatment from her family because they treated her unfairly. Jane’s encounters in the story with other characters prove her morals and personal goals, such as being a fair and equal human being. Mr. Rochester’s relationship with Jane gives the novel a sense of romance, which creates elements of irony and…

    • 520 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Mansfield highlighted that trough a numerous amount of images of darkness and light and stressed also on the transition of Fenella by the ‘’umbrella” symbol and many other comparisons. This quotation has all the main ideas, but mostly displays the love and affection between those family members despite the difficult circumstances as well as their bravery to accept the situation without showing lots of emotions. I think that Fenella represents Mansfield in the story, since she had a similar experience when she was forced to move out from her home in Wellington to live in London, she associates realist writing with personal and logical…

    • 812 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    After she meets another important character, Shug Avery, both characters start to change for the better. Although Shug was a great influence for Celie to look up to as she grows as a person, Shug also greatly benefited from Celie’s presence as well. Throughout the story character metamorphosis is demonstrated through the…

    • 541 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays