This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Essay On The Voice Of Janie In Their Eyes Were Watching God

1959 words - 8 pages

The Powerful Voice of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God


The world of Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God was one of oppression and disappointment. She left the world of her suffocating grandmother to live with a man whom she did not love, and in fact did not even know. She then left him to marry another man who offered her wealth in terms of material possessions but left her in utter spiritual poverty. After her second husband's death, she claims responsibility and control of her own life, and through her shared love with her new husband, Teacake, she is able to overcome her status of oppression. Zora Neale Hurston artfully and effectively shows this victory over oppression throughout the book through her use of language. Her use of such stylistic devices as free indidrect discourse and signifting allow her to use language as power; the power for a black woman to realize her own potential.

The voice which Hurston creates is marked by her intertwining of black vernacular and standard English to create a seemless, fluid narration. The combination of the two seemingly dichotomous aspects of language is called the "speakerly text" by Henry Louis Gates in his essay of the same name, and is also more commonly called free indirect discourse. The scene in which Mayor Starks, Janie's husband, has erected the new street lamp for the town, exemplifies Hurston's use of free indirect discourse. Janie and her husband first speak to each other using the recognizable black dialect of the region:

"Well, honey, how yuh like bein' Mrs. Mayor?"

"It's all right Ah reckon, but don't yuh think it keeps us in a kinda strain?"

The omniscient third person narrator then captures Janie's feelings about the prospect of her new life as one of her husband's showpieces like his new streetlamp in standard English: "A feeling of coldness and fear took hold of her. She felt far away from things and lonely. Janie soon began to feel the impact of awe and envy against her sensibilities. The wife ofthe mayor was not just another woman as she supposed. She slept with authority and so she was part of it in the town mind." A skillfull change in narration which combines the black dialect and the conventional narration occurs in the following quotation as the narrator shows how the towns people feel about a spittoon which Joe Starks bought for his wife:

"He bought a little lady-sized spitting pot for Janie to spit in. Had it right in the parlor with little sprigs of flowers painted on all sides...It sort of made the rest of them feel that they had been taken advantage of. Like things had been kept from them. Maybe more things in the world besides spitting pots had been hid from them, when they wasn't no better than to spit in tomato cans. It was bad enough for white people, but when one of your own color could be so different it put you on a wonder. It was like seeing your sister turn into a...

Find Another Essay On Essay on the Voice of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Janie: Victim of Male Dominating Society in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

657 words - 3 pages Mary Helen Washington’s essay denies Hurston’s effort to create a liberated female character in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Washington believes that Janie is actually excluded “from power, particularly from the power of oral speech”. Janie plays a role of an object for men to look at and talk about. The consequence of this oppression is shown after Jody’s death, rather than declaring her freedom, Janie appreciates her own hair by

Their Eyes Were Watching Janie Essay

1470 words - 6 pages dreams and not just see her husband’s. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie’s relationship with Jody and Tea Cake impacts Janie as an individual through their control over her, through what they represented to her, and through the ways they treat her. Janie first sees Jody when she is in the yard of the home she shared with Logan. When she figures out that she can’t achieve love just because she married someone for financial

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

A Research Paper on Their Eyes Were Watching God, A Analysis of Janie and Women’s Role in Society in the early 1930s

1204 words - 5 pages In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, we have a frame narrative of a women’s perspective of life in the rural south. The reader is introduced to a middle-aged partly African American female named Janie, who then confides in her best friend with her life’s tale. The common factor between the author and the main character as Robert Hemenway writes is that, “Janie's poetic self-realization is inseparable from Zora's

Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God

3046 words - 12 pages Voice and Language in Their Eyes Were Watching God      In one way or another, every person has felt repressed at some stage during their lives. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about one woman's quest to free herself from repression and explore her own identity; this is the story of Janie Crawford and her journey for self-knowledge and fulfillment.  Janie transforms many times as she undergoes the process of self-discovery as she

Voice Analysis of Janie, main character of Theire Eyes Were Watching God

963 words - 4 pages voice in Their Eyes Were Watching God is impacted by all the different emotional events that she endures, and throughout all of her three marriages. As she ages and moves on to new relationships, her voice seems to be exposed more, and takes a more original tone rather than a scared one. By the end of the book, when Janie is in her marriage with Tea Cake Woods, she has made her entire evolution and is no longer afraid to be herself as she was

"Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Janie Crawford

1132 words - 5 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God, was panned by the public, and later shelved on bookcases to gather dust. By passing over the story of Janie Crawford, readers lost a remarkable novel, not about the injustices whites had committed on the blacks, but the many paths a human life can take on the journey through life. Essentially, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that follows the character of Janie Crawford as she evolves through each unique

Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1206 words - 5 pages Thus, their inability to relate to her does not come from hatred but form their upbringing or skepticism. Janie’s story (profoundly economic in emphasis, as Houston Baker has argued) focuses on three representative husbands (Newman, Oct., 2003). Although the focal point of Their Eyes Were Watching God correlates with Janie’s relationship with her three husbands and other people. It is the main and primary idea of Janie’s search for divine

Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

745 words - 3 pages would eventually appear in their marriage and she " felt glad of the thought, for then it wouldn't seem so destructive and mouldy " (Hurston 21). Although Janie had high hopes of falling in love, they did not. 2) The relationship between Logan and Janie at first starts with hope, but then ends with anger. In the first year of their marriage, Logan fills Janie with security, and does anything in his power to make sure she is filled with

Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

790 words - 4 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that presents a happy ending through the moral development of Janie, the protagonist. The novel divulges Janie’s reflection on her life’s adventures, by narrating the novel in flashback form. Her story is disclosed to Janie’s best friend Phoebe who comes to learn the motive for Janie’s return to Eatonville. By writing the novel in this style they witness Janie’s childhood, marriages, and present life

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

Similar Essays

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

The Impact Of Hurston's Life Experiences On The Character Janie In Their Eyes Were Watching God

791 words - 3 pages The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston explores the life of an African American woman from the south who is trying to find herself. The protagonist of this novel is Janie Crawford. She is trying to defy what people expect of her, and she lives her life searching to have a better life. Zora Neale Hurston’s life experiences influence the book in many ways, including language, personality, and life experiences. Through her

The Characterization Of Janie In Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

780 words - 3 pages In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston which is set in the 1930’s explores the life of an African American women from the south, that trying to find herself. The protagonist of this novel is Janie Crawford. In the novel, Janie is going on a journey to find who she really is and to find spiritual enlightenment. To help shape Janie character in this novel Hurston is influence by the philosophical view from the Romanticism

Theme Of Voice In Their Eyes Were Watching God

2161 words - 9 pages Breaking Through In the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" written by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie the protagonist is seen by critics as having no voice. For all women silence knows no boundaries of race or culture, and Janie is no exception. Hurston characterizes Janie with the same silence that women at that time & period were forced into, (complete submission.) "Women were to be seen and not heard." Janie spends forty years of her