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Janie's Quest For Self Identity In Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Hurston

912 words - 4 pages

In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Hurston the author gives several examples of one’s quest for self identity.  Throughout the story Janie's quest for self identity can be clearly seen as she keeps moving from one marriage to another. As time passes her search takes several bad turns, In the end she ends up finding her true identity.  Through her marriages with Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake she figures out she should do for herself and how she should live. In the end of the story she is where she finally wants to be and where she really belongs.

All her life Janie had lived with her grandmother Nanny, Nanny and Janie were lucky as they had the privilege to live in the yard of white folks. Ever since Janie was growing up she played with white children, It was later that she was confronted with disapproval and was bullied and given many names, so many that everyone started calling her alphabet, "'cause so many people had done named me different names”(68). Shortly she started putting together what she knew of her abnormal individuality.  One day she saw herself in a photograph and noticed that she looked distinctive, That she had dark skin, and said, "before Ah seen de picture Ah thought Ah wuz just like de rest”(9).  Ever since that day, Janie tumbled into somewhat of a descending spiral, setting her off of the path regarding her for own identity.  Finally when she had grownup Nanny witnessed her doing something under the pear tree which she believed was distasteful,  Nanny hastily prepared a marriage between Janie and a wealthy local man, Logan Killicks. Janie was against her grandmother’s decision.  She felt as if she was losing her independence as well as her individuality, she wasn't Janie anymore she would now be Mrs. Killicks, and was forced to do what he desired. It was not long into this marriage that Janie had enough, and when the chance came to leave Logan to be with a charming, passionate man, she takes off.

  The man Janie left with was Joe Starks.  Joe was a clever man who ended up starting his own town, Eatonville.  In the beginning of her affiliation with Joe, Janie felt loved, something which she never really felt while she was married with Logan.  In the beginning, she felt as if she was finding her own identity, however all there really was to uncover was a great labyrinth starring her away from her path. Alongside Joe she felt as if she had a position of subservience to Joe, he did not see her as an equal.  when Joe was declared mayor, The citizens wanted to hear from Mrs. Starks, Joe said, “mah wife don't know nothin'...

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