Feminism In Their Eyes Were Watching God

2534 Words 11 Pages
As a bee searches for a flower to pollinate, a woman seeks to find her identity, despite the chains of her oppressors. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God explores the journey of Janie Crawford, who is subjugated by her husbands because of her race and gender. Hurston challenges the cultural norms of 1900s southern society by criticizing the objectification of African American women. Deborah Clarke explains that in a culture which “defined black people as spectacle and black women as sexualized bodies, one needs to transform and redeem the potential of vision” (602). Hurston’s novel revives the hope of people oppressed because of their race and gender. When Janie breaks her chains, she embraces her independence to seek what …show more content…
Janie symbolizes every woman that is oppressed because of their race and gender. Throughout Janie’s marriages, she is deprived of her self-worth and dignity. Likewise, she learns at a young age her skin color will be the source of her oppression for the rest of her life. Janie does not realize she loses herself while being controlled by her oppressors. By the end of the novel, Janie is a self-empowered and independent woman looking forward to change and opportunity. King confirms, Janie’s “quest for the “‘horizons”’ of herself finally leads her to a place where she defines herself, despite a society which wants to deny her power because she is a black woman” (59). Throughout Janie’s suffering, she eventually realizes her oppressors cannot hold her back from discovering her own horizon. Hurston’s novel gives hope to woman similar to Janie, including herself. Everybody has the human right to know God and know themselves. However, this God-given right has been corrupted by false superiority. No one should be deprived of their worth because of who God made them to be. Ironically, Janie’s name literally means a gift from God, yet she is treated like a mule. No child of God should be treated less than the other. Hurston challenges this corruption throughout Their Eyes. Inside every living soul, there is a desire for growth and development. Oppression prevents this chance at hope and growth. However, pain and suffering can be used as a source of strength. What is meant to destroy will be used to restore the lives of the oppressed. As the chains are being broken, freedom dwells in the lost souls of the oppressed. There is freedom to experience change, opportunity, and growth. Without freedom there is no growth. Without growth there is no life. Life does not truly begin until the victims of oppression live for themselves and not

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