Cultural Norms In Their Eyes Were Watching God

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In Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie battles cultural norms by marrying for love instead of the traditional reasons of money and security. Throughout the novel Janie is dissatisfied with inability to voice herself and in finding a voice she is able to break free of societal constructs. Janie has to negotiate how to carry herself in response to others, which leads to Janie breaking the mold women are expected to fit into. She is able t find herself through her ability to recognize she does not want to live as a pawn in someone else’s life. Janie’s grandmother, Nanny, has instilled within her granddaughter that a happy marriage is dependent upon money and security. Her grandmother views Janie as her second chance to raise …show more content…
Furthermore this newly found voice leads Janie to break cultural norms. During her marriage to Killicks Janie realized she does not want to be a farmer’s wife, and eventually begins expressing those feelings. When Janie says, “Supposing Ah was to run off and leave yuh sometine”, and actually leaves, it shows the reader that her voice is gaining power and independence. Janie has chosen to listen to herself. She has taken action of her own life and this is the beginning of Janie not being a pawn in her marriage to Killicks. Her voice only grows under her marriage to Jody Stark. Janie was sold on the idea of setting new horizons with Jody, but that consisted of being confined to silence and a chair to look pretty in. Janie soon realizes that her husband expects full obedience. This is shown when Jody tells Janie, “Dat’s cuz you need telling… Somebody got to think for women and chillun, and chickens and cows,” which shows how highly he thinks of his wife. This statement leads to a fight which causes Jody to move into the guest room. This scene is pivotal in that it shows Janie her words have enough power to make another person react to them. Her voice and independence are strengthened through her ability to stick to her words and leave Killicks, and the death of Jody. Janie now has her own life, free of being a pawn, she is no longer a farmer’s wife nor is she the submissive wife Jody expected her to

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