Their Eyes Were Watching God - Adjust, Adapt, Overcome: a Theme Analys

1939 Words Sep 27th, 1999 8 Pages
"I have said that the soul is not more than the body, And I have said that the body is not more than the soul, And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is, And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud..."
<br>-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
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<br>Zora Neale Hurston, in dealing with the female search for self-awareness in Their Eyes Were Watching God, has created a heroine in Janie Crawford. In fact, the female perspective is introduced immediately: "Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly" (1). On the very first page of Their Eyes Were
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Even if Joe was not there waiting for her, the change was bound to do her good" (31).
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<br>With her second marriage it seems that Janie's dream has come true. She thinks that her prayers are answered when she first sees Joe Starks. In fact, she felt as if he were "a bee for her bloom" (31). Joe was a respectable looking man that seemed as if he didn't belong in "colored" skin. It was no surprise to the reader that Janie left the "ole skullhead" for the much more appealing Joe (13). Tragically, Janie soon realizes that Joe is not the "bee" she was looking for. She saw that he had only wanted her for her looks and nothing else. He kept her away from the entire world for fear of someone stealing her away. She was not allowed to talk on the porch with the other townsfolk, and after a man commented on her hair, she was forced to cover it. She never realized just how tied down she was by him until after a funeral the town had for a mule. After that incident, Janie begins to respond to the treatment with Joe's own medicine. After commenting about Janie's sagging behind, Janie rebuttals by denouncing Joe's manhood. This defiance is what seems to have caused Joe to die. Without the respect of his wife, or the townsfolk for that matter, he had no reason to live. Almost immediately after Joe dies, "she . . . let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was there" [83]. Symbolically this releasing of her hair represents Janie letting her "self" escape from

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