Nature Vs. Nurture In Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The two characters Sam Watson and Lige Moss in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, argues the aging dispute of nature versus nurture. Sam states that nature helps us avoid dangerous situations explaining that our natural instinct helps us survive. Lige counter argues that caution prevents us from doing any harm. He explains stating that our knowledge or experience gives us the ability to avoid danger. Studies show that people are happier when they follow their heart; nature is based on our instincts and therefore living an organic way of life will increase the quality of life.
When making a decision, it should not be done just because it is the “right” thing to do, because it will not promise happiness in the longer term.
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Unlike our character which is in our nature, our behavior changes with nurture. The rules of society will shackle you to your intended roles. Joe and Janie’s marriage deteriorates when he makes her the second priority after the town. He was no longer the man she fell in love with and she found herself in a role where, “She slept with authority and so she was part of it in the town mind” (Hurston 46). As mayor’s wife, Janie realizes she can never be free again as nature wants her to be. She has to mute her emotions and be demure. Joe on the other hand is allowed to be loud in his behavior because he is a man. He makes his power known through his walk, big laugh, two-story home and his opulent way of life. In contrast, Joe forces Janie to cover her symbol of power, her think long ropes of hair. As mayor, he believed he would not be able to control the town, if he could not control Janie. Janie is caught in the struggle between caution and nature. Our behavior changes with conditioning, and Janie was forced to condition herself to the needs of the town and Joe. Religion can also force us to act in a certain way. In the Roman Catholic church, good Catholics are supposed to attend mass every week, receive communion, confess our sins, and the list goes on. As a catholic, I feel obligated to follow all these rules to avoid getting judged. This obligation is popularized by the term “catholic guilt”. More than I fear that God will smite me for not going to church every week, I am more scared of the pressure put on me by my parents and all those around me. I would not be a good catholic if I do not follow all these rules. Part of the way I behave has been influenced by my catholic background, and over time it has one of the things that I do on auto-pilot, rather than having a passion for all my

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