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Their Eyes Were Watching God Essays

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Somebody got to think for women and chillum and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none themselves.” a Feminist reading from Zora Neale HurstonTheir Eyes Were Watching God is a novel written by Zora Neale Hurston about a black woman named Janie Crawford who is on a journey to find true love despite being oppressed by a male-dominated society. Being in three relationships, Janie was often silenced, objectified and even physically abused. Feminism is a movement that advocates for the rights of women and is based on the theory that men and women are equal. Patriarchy is a social system where the father in the family has dominance over the children and wives and that they have a larger share of power than women. This implies that this society is male-dominated and that men suppress women. Throughout the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston proves that feminism cannot denounce the patriarchal mindset and ultimately fails because women believe in a social construct that men are biologically the dominant gender, men and women pass on patriarchy from generation to generation, and women are not willing to question gender roles.In Their Eyes Were Watching God, feminism cannot end the patriarchal mindset and ultimately fails because women believe in the idea that men are biologically the dominant gender.

In the beginning of the book when Nanny insists that Janie marry Logan Killicks, Janie begs and refuses to get married to him and Nanny replies: “Taint Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it’s protection. Ah ain’t getting’ ole, honey. Ah’m done ole. One mornin’ soon, de angel wid de sword is going stop by here… Mah daily prayer now is to let dese golden moments rolls on a few days longer til Ah see you safe in life”(Hurston 15). Nanny wants Janie to get married to Logan Killicks because she is getting old and believes that in order for Janie to be safe she needs to marry Logan Killicks since he is a wealthy farmer and owns the land. Nanny believes that women need to be married in order to have protection and be financially stable. Even when Janie begs not to marry Logan Killicks simply because she doesn’t love him, Nanny forces the idea that Janie is unable to live without a man. Nanny believes that men are biologically the stronger gender because men are the ones that provide protection and financial support. When Nanny believes in this idea, feminism fails because if women genuinely think that men are superior to women then, women will continue to be seen as weak and unable to provide for themselves. Nanny accepts that men are more powerful than women and that men control their society. She feels as though women are more dependent on men than men are to women. When women believe in the idea that men are biologically the stronger gender, this idea passes through generations.

Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, when men and women pass on patriarchy through generations, feminism ultimately fails. After Nanny catches Janie kissing Johnny Taylor, she tells Janie to sit on her lap and says: Honey, de white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out. Maybe it’s some place way off in de ocean where de black man is in power, but we don’t know anything but what we see. So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He picks it up because he has to, but he doesn’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.(Hurston 14)Nanny explains to Janie her role as a black woman in society. She says that Janie will probably live a tough life and would be forced to do work that no white person would ever be called to do. Nanny grew up believing that women are supposed to be submissive to men and the white man rules the world. She implies that white men are at the top of the hierarchy and look down on black men and that black men pass that burden onto women. Nanny is saying that in this society black women are treated like animals. She tells this to Janie so that Janie does not become the “mule of the world”. Nanny hopes that Janie’s life would be better than hers so she insists that she marries Logan Killicks. Nanny teaches Janie that men rule the world and that black women are at the bottom. Nanny passes on the idea that men rule the world to Janie. Feminism can not end male-dominated societies because women already believe that they are at the bottom since they have been exposed to this idea from an early age. When men and women pass on patriarchy through generations, women will not question gender roles.

Feminism cannot reject patriarchy because women simply are not willing to question gender roles in Their Eyes Were Watching God. When Joe is made the mayor of Eatonville, Tony asks Janie to give a speech, but Joe says: ‘Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know anything bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in the home.”(Hurston 43). Joe believes that Janie is incapable of making a speech. He is jealous and implies that Janie is not supposed to be in the public but rather at home. Joe does not give Janie a chance to speak showing that he does not see Janie as an equal. Janie loses her freedom to speech without interfering in that moment. He believes in the traditional gender roles where women are supposed to be housewives while men are the sole providers of the family. Men feel the need to be superior and dominant towards women. Janie does not question Joe’s decision but instead moves. Feminism will eventually fail because Janie did not speak out for herself. Within Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston proves that feminism cannot condemn the patriarchal mindset and will eventually fail because women believe in the idea that men are biologically the more powerful gender, men and women pass on patriarchy through generations, and women are not willing to question gender roles. Others may say that feminism is the way people feel and not vocally expressed because feminism is when an individual believes in themselves internally. This means that when women believe in themselves they are empowering themselves. However, feminism is something that has to happen vocally otherwise women will continue to be suppressed by men. Janie was beaten down, controlled, and suppressed because she never outwardly expressed her issues out loud until the middle of the novel. Individuals assume that male supremacy is a natural state in society. In order for feminism to denounce the patriarchal mindset people must speak out and advocate for women rights, while also addressing the challenging stereotypes and the imbalance in power. If not, feminism eventually fails and will never stop the patriarchal mindset in the minds of many individuals.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God: Symbols, Characters And Plot

In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, a young girl by the name of Janie Crawford embarks on a journey to find herself true love. From three different marriages, to traveling from place to place, Janie learns a lot about herself and the world around her. Hurston implements many great instances of symbolism all through the novel. She introduces various powerful and interesting characters forms start to finish. She establishes a very long and detailed...
2 Pages 1016 Words

Fences By August Wilson, And Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston: Comparative Essay

Throughout the history of black American culture, the pursuit of dreams has played a pivotal role in self-fulfillment and internal development. In many ways an individual’s reactions to the perceived and real obstacles barring the path to a dream define the very character of that person. This theme has been quite evident in black literary works regardless of time period or writing style. For example, in both Fences, by August Wilson, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale...
3 Pages 1290 Words

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Harlem Renaissance Period

Literature reflects the cultural views, political heartbeats, social reforms and failures of a society. The people rejoice in the progress that society makes but cries in the setbacks it experiences; such is the story of the Harlem Renaissance Period of literature. Slavery had been abolished, but injustices still occurred, and prejudices still existed. The writers of this time reflected these in their writing so that society, black and white, could read and empathize with the obstacles of the new Negro....
3 Pages 1211 Words

The Theme Of African American Women Slavery In The Novels Their Eyes Were Watching God And Beloved

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Tori Morrison’s Beloved portray two black women Janie and Sethe, who are victimized by both racism and sexism, constantly dealing with the legacy of slavery, and trying to construct a new world for themselves. Slavery does not only impact the ones who are experiencing, but also the ones who have already gone through, and even who were born after the end of slavery. Both novels demonstrate the lasting impact of racial...
3 Pages 1331 Words

Their Eyes Were Watching God As A Work Of Resistance

The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston can largely be considered a work of resistance. Janie Crawford’s quest for fulfilment, freedom and autonomy, the development of her personal voice and the use of voice throughout the text, showcases the power of black people- particularly black women- to define their own futures and harness their voices. The text thereby offers a powerful resistive stance against the prevailing racial hierarchy of the time. This is achieved despite the...
3 Pages 1547 Words

The Analysis of Janie Crawford's Personality in Zora Hurston's 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'

‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’, written by Zora Hurston, is a book about empowerment because Janie is constantly fighting for her beliefs/rights. For instance, as the book begins Janie meets her wed, Logan Killocks, she is put right to work by him. When she is put to work she starts to dislike him because he will not let her be free, so she flees with another guy named Jody. Jody promises Janie many things, but once again Janie is restricted...
2 Pages 979 Words

Ideas And Themes In Their Eyes Were Watching God

Is it true love? “love is like the sea. It’s a moving thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from the shore it meets, and It’s different with every shore.” (Hurston 191). these words are often more important than some people thing about. In recent years, marriage rates declined, part as a result of young adults have waited longer to induce married, In line with according to psychological today. Three of the most important points from the book...
1 Page 641 Words

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Critical Analysis

“Our Papers” is Janie Crawford’s time with Logan Kilicks in several ways. This section has similarities to her relationship with her first husband Logan and what she felt in this time frame. In this section of the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie goes to talk to her grandmother. She has only been married for three or four days and is sad. She tries to let her Nanny know how unhappy she is in her marriage with Logan Killicks....
4 Pages 1743 Words

Zora Neale Hurston: Janie Crawford and Her Search for True Love

Zora Neale Hurston has proven to be an extremely influential novelist who writes African American literature. She has written many successful novels, including her most popular novel called Their Eyes Were Watching God. This novel portrays the life and relationships of an African American woman named Janie Crawford. Janie seeks true love and self-discovery. In pursuit of these goals, Janie goes through three different relationships with three dissimilar men. All of these relationships help Janie to learn and grow within...
4 Pages 1621 Words

Zora Neale Hurston: Analysis Of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Over time, numerous civilizations developed their history and literature closely together. Therefore determining which one imitates the other is difficult to do. In order to confirm the answer, research may be conducted by targeting a specific timeline. During the early 1900s, a war broke out known as World War I. The United States fell into a period of isolationism and disillusionment. The disillusionment was surprisingly liberating, it helped transform habits and forms of tradition. Soon, artists, musicians, and writers began...
3 Pages 1297 Words

Representation of African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance in the Novel Their Eyes Were Watching God: Critical Analysis

As humans, we might prefer to find others for comfort to feel like we belong, and over anything we want love. We would wish to be loved and to like another through our trials of life. This can be one of the many themes of the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The character Janie includes a desire for love which propels the events of the novel and her eventual self-improvement. Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is...
2 Pages 985 Words

Feminine Voice in “How it Feels to be Colored Me”, “Their Eyes were Watching God” and “Dream Variations”

In the novel “Their Eyes were Watching God” written by Zora Neale Hurston, feminine voice is spread throughout the novel with Janie, the protagonist, seeking natural and mutual love in a communal town. Janie lives in a small town with her grandmother, and she had three marriages with three different men. Hurston suggests that feminine voice is the patriarch which is suppressed, and the only true way for women to have a voice is through men. Women are often used...
3 Pages 1284 Words

Complexity Of Marriage And Gender Roles In Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God tells the story of Janie Crawford, with Janie ultimately serving as her own narrators. Her story begins with a flashback to her life as a young girl and traces her path through three different marriages. Throughout the various pages, the book is perhaps most salient in Janie’s reflections on marriage in terms of how it deviates from her own expectations. The resultant tale serves as somewhat of a path through which...
4 Pages 1655 Words

Identity Establishment In The Novel Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

Within the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford, the main protagonist, takes herself through a journey to establish her identity and find herself. The journey that Janie is on is moreso a means for her to find herself, which expertly articulates feminism in a period that does not listen to the voices of women. Zora Hurston, The author, parallels both Janie’s pathway in life along with her desire to have self fulfillment and control....
4 Pages 1799 Words

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Feminist Aspects

Janie Crawford is a captivating character in African-American literature and is studied as a symbol of strength, weakness, liberty, and restraint. Janie, the main character of Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Hurston, is a young African-American woman, desirous for more control of her life during a time when women had little to no say. Some literary critics deem Janie a hero of feminism because of this, but a look at the relationships that she has—with men specifically—proves that...
3 Pages 1168 Words
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