In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Lora Neale Hurston, the main character engages in three marriages that lead her towards a development of self. Through each endeavor, Janie learns the truths of life, love, and the path to finding her identity. Though suppressed because of her race and gender, Janie has a strong will to live her life the way she wills. But throughout her life, she encounters many people who attempt to change the way that she is and her beliefs. Each marriage that she undertakes, she finds a new realization and is on a never-ending quest to find her identity and true love. Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake each help Janie progress to womanhood and find her identity.
At age sixteen, Janie is a beautiful young girl who is about to enter womanhood and experience the real world. Being joyous and unconcerned, she is thrown into an arranged marriage with Logan Killicks. He is apparently unromantic and unattractive. Logan is a widower and a successful farmer who desires a wife who would not have her own opinions. He is set on his own ways and is troubled by Janie, who forms her own opinions and refuses to work. He is unable to sexually appeal or satisfy Janie and therefore does not truly connect with her as husband and wife should. Janie's wild and young spirit is trapped within her and she plays the role of a silent and obeying wife. But her true identity cannot withhold itself for she has ambitions and she wills to see the world and find love. There was a lack of trust and communication between Logan and Janie. Because of the negative feelings Janie has towards Logan, she deems that this marriage is not what she desires it to be. The pear tree and the bees had a natural attraction and sexual experience unlike her relationship with Logan and so Janie realizes that he is not for her. So one day she meets Joe Starks and after spending some time together, Janie asks Logan what he would do if she ran away. Logan, rather than responding honestly, lies and hides his true feelings through insults. Janie learns that a marriage does not always withhold love. Love is something that must come naturally without force or thought and Janie sees that she has no such feeling towards Logan. Hence Janie runs off with Joe Starks and Logan is never heard of again.
Joe Starks is an admirable person. He promises Janie beautiful material things and happiness unlike Logan who only tried to control her and offered her no love. Janie is overwhelmed by this proposal and believes that Joe may be the bee that has come to fertilize her and make her happy, but she is proven wrong. After she runs away from Logan, Joe and Janie travel to a new town that is only occupied by African Americans. There, Joe becomes mayor and is well respected by all. He gains wealth and gives Janie the material things that he promised her, but forces her to work in his local store all day long. He does not allow her to attend...