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Overview: Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

2131 words - 9 pages

Their Eyes Were Watching God was written by Zora Neale Hurston and published in 1937. Hurston's book guides us through character Janie Crawford’s hectic journey while taking place in the 1900s. The story starts out with Janie, a middle-aged African American woman, returning to her hometown in Eatonville, Florida. Her surprise visit gets the town talking. They wonder where she had gone, what she was doing, and why she was gone so long. Janie’s friend, Pheoby Watson, visits Janie to find out what happened. The conversation that they share frames the rest of the entire book.
Janie begins her story explaining that her grandmother raised her because her own mother ran off. Janie’s grandmother worked as a nanny for a white family, so Janie grew up around that family. She was so used to being around white people that she actually believed that she was a white girl. Janie’s grandmother was devoted to making Janie happy and safe. She had the desire to marry Janie off right away, because she knew that a good man could provide the security that she could no longer provide if something happened to her. A farmer, named Logan Killicks, was the perfect guy that Janie’s grandmother had in mind for her to marry. Janie resists the need to get married, but she does it for her grandmother. She feels absolutely miserable living with Logan Killicks. He didn’t provide a sense of love that Janie felt she needed, but her grandmother argued that the love will come naturally and in time. Soon after Janie expresses how she feels about Logan to her grandmother, her grandmother passes away. Janie starts to feel lost, not knowing what to do about her situation with Logan. One day, while Logan is out of town, Janie meets a handsome, ambitious man named Joe Starks. He and Janie talk and flirt for a couple weeks before Joe proposes the idea to run off and get married. Janie falls head over heels with his idea and they escape to a new town to get married. Joe Starks becomes the mayor of the town, taking charge of everything that happens around him. Joe starts hiding Janie away from the common life seen in the town, and Janie is upset with him for not letting her be included in the everyday life around town. Joe shapes Janie into what the mayor’s wife should look like, but Janie has other goals and dreams in mind.
Joe and Janie’s marriage falls apart as they reveal their true selves to the town. Soon, Joe becomes quite ill. Janie’s final words to Joe on his deathbed are full of hatred because of how he treated her after all the years they spent together. After Joe passes away, Janie finally feels free. A young man named Tea Cake enters Janie’s life, and they fall passionately in love with each other. Janie leaves behind her previous life centered around Joe to go with Tea Cake to Jacksonville. They experience many difficulties at first being with each other, but they cope and move to the Everglades. Awhile into their marriage, a hurricane invades the Everglades where they live....

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