Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.” Some men never find their ships. The works Their Eyes Were Watching God and Les Miserables can be compared due to the many similarities they share. It can be said that there is complete lack of happiness throughout the both of them. First there is the comparison of Teacake and Marius, then Janie and Eponine, and finally the entire town of Eatonville and the innkeepers.
First there is Teacake who had unhappy life even before meeting Janie. When he and Janie first meet, she thinks that she shouldn't associate with him. Janie thinks, “Maybe he was hanging around to get in with her and strip her of all she had.” (page 100) From the start Teacake had to try hard to win Janie over. Because he was trying so hard to get Janie to love him back it took some of the romance out of their relationship. Even toward the end of the book when Teacake is finally been happy for about two years, he gets killed. Janies says. “The pistol and rifle rang out almost together...Teacake crumpled...as he crashed forward into her arms.” (page 184) Even when the characters find their small and simple happiness it came crashing down the moment the triggers were pulled.
Secondly there is Marius, who much like Teacake has problems with achieving and keeping happiness. Marius thinks he has it all figured out when he meets the girl of his dreams, Casette. This is very similar to when Teacake and Janie fall in love and move away. Unknown to him he is breaking the heart of his childhood friend, Eponine, who is fiercely in love with him. He only realizes his lover for her when she is at death's door, but then its too late. When Marius and Eponine finally get married everything falls apart when her “father” leave them all alone. When they eventually do find him the see that he has made his peace with god and dies right there with them like Teacake did to Janie. Once again the characters that actually find happiness only get to have it for a short time, and then its gone.
Next there is Janie who had an unhappy life basically throughout the entire novel. She wasn't happy as a child due to the way her grandmother though she should live. They lived with a white family and Janie was made fun of at school because she was black. Janie said, “They’d push me ‘way from de ring plays...she would pick on me de time and put some others up tuh do de same.” Once an adult Janie got married, the first time, to a man named Logan Killicks. She was never happy with him. She told Nanny, “Ah wants things sweet wid...