Their Eyes Were Watching God Women

1242 Words 5 Pages
Women as a whole have struggled to be viewed as the equal to men. In Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston narrates the life of a middle aged black woman, Janie, who deals with the discrimination of being a woman during this time. Throughout the novel, Janie marries three men with a reoccurring theme in each relationship: superiority of the men. The abusive and male-superior relationships Janie takes part in with Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake aid in building Janie’s independence and strength as well as provide reason for Hurston ending the novel with Janie alone.
Although Logan possesses the power of their arranged marriage, Janie becomes more independent through his control and her work. Logan explains that the arrangement is made because
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Joe has “a bow-down command in his face” (Hurston 47), and Janie felt more alone being with a powerful man like Jody. Although Janie, being the wife of the Mayor, is recognized as part of an authoritative figure, Jody confines her to the store. His way of keeping her in the store is by saying “she could do it if she wanted to and he wanted her to use her privileges” (Hurston 54). Joe uses manipulation to keep Janie working in the store, but Janie does not like working in the store. Her days consist of headaches, labor, and wasting time on mathematical dilemmas. This confinement to the store and forced labor leads to Jody silencing Janie in the community, forcing her to wear a head rag, and abusing her. Janie has no voice in the community because she is a woman, so Janie patiently waits to speak to Joe at times when no one else is talking with him. Her conversations are limited under his control, and her hair is wrapped up and hidden from all. The head wrap shows the authority Joe has over Janie at this time, because he is the only reason she keeps her hair up from the community. After dealing with Joe’s harsh treatment and confinement to the store, “Janie had robbed him of his illusion of irresistible maleness that all men cherish” (Hurston 79), because Janie gains the strength to do what she wants and she decides that she can fight back to her husband. Joe strikes Janie in public after the argument that Janie robs him of his maleness, which is another way he abuses her. Following the public fight between the two, Jody becomes very ill; he becomes too weak to work and fights for his life, but he soon loses the battle and passes away. After Joe’s death, Janie is seen without her head wrap which shows that she is ready to move on and continue with her life. With

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