Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston: Character Analysis

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Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zora Neale Hurston, is a novel brimming with references of the nature. Janie Crawford, the protagonist of the novel, has a vivid relationship with the nature. As “nature is de first of everything” (Hurston 65), it is used as fundamental symbols and motifs, resembling different parts of Janie’s life. The usage of the pear tree, mule and horizon represent Janie’s coming of age, which eventually awakens her true self that is trapped within her because of race and gender roles of the society. Living in a white-dominant society, Janie and the other “colored folks” (Hurston 28) are considered as inferior. Especially for women, Nanny finds out the tragic truth about “de nigger woman is de mule uh the …show more content…
The motif of “blossoms” blooming, which acts as a start for her new teenage life, and with some sexual references, the “pear tree” provokes her joy of connections and partnerships with men. Apart from being parallel to her growth throughout time, the Pear tree also represents her idealized view of relationship, which is further illustrated in the imagery of “visiting bees” collecting pollen from a pear blossom. The imagery of the relationship between the “bees” and the blossom is her definition of true love, which unfortunately, cannot be found in her first two marriages. Her dream and aspiration for the equality within a marriage is specifically strong, which easily earns her dissatisfaction when her two former husbands “failed her” (Hurston 25), desecrating her vision of true love. Although the start of her two marriages is a “bloom”, Janie no longer has “blossomy openings dusting pollen over her [men], neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be” (Hurston 72), which triggers her to end both the marriage. At the end of the novel, Janie declares that “love is like de sea. … It takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore” (Hurston 191). She believes that true love is not fixed and it differs from people to people, and most importantly, it depends on the …show more content…
The motif of the “horizon” is closely related to the “Pear tree”, symbolizing Janie’s dream. The novel starts with a metaphor of the different concepts of dreams between men and women, which women fails to distinguish between their dream and the reality, and thus results them to “act and do things accordingly” (Hurston 1) to their soul and spirit. In Janie’s experience, her “ship” keeps sailing towards the “horizon”, but stops and stays when she meets Tea Cake. Her romantic idea of passion in true love denies her first marriage with Killicks because she is obligated by Nanny to gain stability and wealth in return. When she meets Starks, although he is not “sun-up and pollen and blooming trees” (Hurston 29), the “sun plunge into the same crack” (Hurston 33), which suggests a possibility to go further to meet her dream. She thinks she is approaching towards the “horizon” and getting an opportunity to a new life when she elopes with Starks. However, he starts exploiting her as a tool, which contradicts his promise to “make a wife outa [her]” (Hurston 29). Until she meets Tea Cake, Janie’s heart and soul is finally engaged and encountered to her

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