Comparing And Contrasting Relationships In Their Eyes Were Watching God And Seraph On The Suwanee

1045 words - 4 pages

Comparing and Contrasting Relationships in Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee

In Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee, Zora Neale Hurston creates two protagonists, Janie and Arvay, and depicts their rich relationships with Tea Cake and Jim, respectively. This brief paper compares these two women and their interaction with their husbands. Contrasting the similarities of these relationships helps underscore deeper themes that Hurston draws from two ostensibly different women.

Tea Cake and Jim bear substantial resemblance to each other. They both carry a rather unsavory reputation around their towns, they both woo their new wives aggressively; they even take care of their women with occasional recourse to illegal improprieties such as liquor distilling and gambling (although they tend to spend their profits quite differently). Both men reduce to child-like behavior in key moments of affection with their wives; Tea Cake favors having his head in Janie’s lap, while Jim prefers his head resting on Arvay’s breast. Perhaps most crucially, both men exhibit communication and behavior that make their wives frantic with jealousy and fear. Jim, in his teasing of Arvay, and Tea Cake in his long absences, especially right after his marriage to Janie in
Jacksonville, make their respective wives boil over with internal anguish.

Janie and Arvay respond to their men in similar ways as well. Both women swing from extremes of doubt and distrust to passionate, all-encompassing love for their husbands. Moreover, both women reconfigure themselves to adjust to the man’s world, as when Janie moves to the Everglades with Tea Cake, and when Arvay goes out to sea with Jim on his fishing boat. Both women find their solace in an idealization of their man, and that idealization is rooted in past experiences. For Janie, her quiet moralizing to Phoebe about love is rooted in her past relationships with three different men, “you got tuh go there tuh know there” (226, Hurston’s italics). Janie’s refuge is in her memory of Tea Cake, who in her remembrance has a halo-ish “sun for a shawl,” and she realizes “Of course he wasn’t dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace.” (227). Janie’s collective experiences allow Tea Cake’s memory to comfort her from beyond the grave. In a sense, her feelings for him are great enough to replace his absence. But Hurston closes the novel with an intriguing simile, as Janie”pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net....So much of life in its meshes!” (227); what would ordinarily be an image of entrapment is transfigured into one of succor. The image is that of Janie harvesting her memories for sustenance and comfort.

If Janie’s tales stem from her wisdom borne from accumulated experiences, Arvay’s “moment of great revelation” derives from a deeper...

Find Another Essay On Comparing and Contrasting Relationships in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee

Comparing Dreams in Catcher in the Rye, Night, and Their Eyes Were Watching God

1007 words - 4 pages Dreams in Catcher in the Rye, Night, and Their Eyes Were Watching God     Throughout the novels Catcher in the Rye, Night, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, the main characters seem to have a dream. In their stories, Holden, Elie, and Janie tell the reader whether or not their dream was successful.   In Catcher in the Rye, Holden's dream is to be the catcher in the rye, meaning he wants to stop children or anything that may

Comparing the Role of Women in Their Eyes Were Watching God and Go Tell It On the Mountain

2155 words - 9 pages insight into the role of African-American women. Their Eyes Were Watching God examines the relationship between Janie and her grandmother, who plays the role of mother in Janie's life. It also looks at the different relationships that Janie had with her three husbands. Janie's grandmother was one of the most important influences in her life, raising her since from an infant and passing on her dreams to Janie. Janie's mother ran away from home soon

The Problem of the Female: Marriage and 'Sistergirl' Relationships in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

4389 words - 18 pages of the folk stories she collected.On September 22, 1936, Zora left Jamaica for Haiti, where she would stay until March of 1937. She spent some time in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, but in December, took a trip to nearby rural town of île de Gonâve. While there, a flood of emotion inside of her was released, and led her to begin work on what was to become her most celebrated and accomplished work, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God

3046 words - 12 pages Cited and Consulted: Bourn, Byron D. "Women's Roles in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain" Callahan, John F. " 'Mah Tongue is in Mah Friend's Mouff' : The Rhetoric of lntimacy and Immensity in Their Eyes Were Watching God." Modern Critical Interpretations: Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987

Essay on Equality and Inequality in Their Eyes Were Watching God

1337 words - 5 pages Equality and Inequality in Their Eyes Were Watching God In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the author, Zora Neale Hurston, attempts to bring into light problems caused by prejudice. However, as she tries to show examples of inequality through various character relationships, examples of equality are revealed through other relationships. Janie, the novel's main character, encounters both inequality and equality through the treatment

Essay on Freedom in Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God

799 words - 3 pages The Spirit of Freedom in The Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God   Freedom takes many different forms. There is personal freedom, societal freedom, mental freedom, and physical freedom. Freedom is not tangible, but may be achieved through many experiences. Different aspects of freedom are apparent in both The Color Purple and Their Eyes Were Watching God. In The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, the freedom moves from the

Essay on Imagery in Their Eyes Were Watching God

1123 words - 4 pages survived her journey. Zora Neale Hurston closes off Their Eyes Were Watching God with one final, poignant image; Janie "[calling] in her soul to come and see" [184] the splendor of her life. Works Cited and Consulted Bourn, Byron D. "Women's Roles in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and James Baldwin's Go Tell It On the Mountain" Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row, 1937. Johnson

Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

1027 words - 4 pages Missing Works Cited "Dey all useter call me Alphabet 'cause so many people had done named me different names," Janie says (Hurston 9). The nickname "Alphabet" is fitting in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God because Janie is always changing and rearraging, never the same. Janie Crawford was constantly searching for happiness, self-realization, and her own voice. Janie dares not to fit the mold, but rather defy it to get what

Their Eyes Were Watching God

2021 words - 8 pages Throughout the movie of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Oprah Winfrey alternates Zora Neale Hurston’s story of a woman’s journey to the point where nobody even recognizes it. The change in the theme, the characters, and their relationships form a series of major differences between the book and the movie. Instead of teaching people the important lessons one needs to know to succeed in this precious thing called life, Oprah tells a meaningless love

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1733 words - 7 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God Book Report 1. Title: Their Eyes Were Watching God 2. Author/Date Written: Zora Neale Hurston/1937 3. Country of Author: 4. Characters Janie Mae Crawford- The book’s main character. She is a very strong willed, independent person. She is able to defy a low class, unhappy life because of these factors, even though the environment that she grew up and lived in was never on her side. Pheoby Watson – Janie’s best

Their Eyes Were Watching God

1030 words - 4 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God De white man is de ruler of everything as fur as Ah been able tuh find out… de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world as fur as Ah can see (14). The white man is on the top of the social and economic hierarchy. He holds the power, and due to

Similar Essays

Nature Themes In Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God And Seraph On The Suwanee

523 words - 2 pages Nature Themes in Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee Nature themes resound throughout Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee. Perhaps two of the most notable instances where the lush Florida scenery augments the novels’ plot lines are the “tree scenes”, in which Janie kisses Johnny Taylor beneath the pear tree in Their Eyes Were Watching God (p. 10-12) and Arvey loses her

Violence In Hurston’s Seraph On The Suwanee And Their Eyes Were Watching God

884 words - 4 pages Violence in Hurston’s Seraph on the Suwanee and Their Eyes Were Watching God Several scenes from Seraph on the Suwanee parallel scenes from Their Eyes Were Watching God. The scene beginning “The gun came up…” on page 183 of Their Eyes Were Watching God and ending “…pried the dead Tea Cake’s teeth from her arm” on page 184 echoes the scene in Seraph on the Suwanee beginning “She flung her hands up…” on page 145 and ending “ ‘…just as fast

Tree Imagery In Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God And Seraph On The Suwanee

507 words - 2 pages Tree Imagery in Hurston’s Novels, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwanee Hurston uses the fruit tree as an important image in both of the texts: the blossoming pear tree for Janie and the budding mulberry tree for Arvay. Each holds a unique meaning for its counterpart. In looking at Janie’s interaction with her tree, I chose to focus on the passage on page 11, beginning with “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear

Imagery Of The Sea In Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God And Seraph On The Suwannee

588 words - 2 pages Imagery of the Sea in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee “She Called In Her Soul to Come and See” Both Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Seraph on the Suwannee act as accounts of female recognition. The two protagonists of the novels, Janie and Arvay, come realize the significance of personal enjoyment of life for one’s self, and how such an awareness causes you to be surrounded you with