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The Effects Of Attitudes In Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston

2212 words - 9 pages

Rachel Stelmach
Mrs. Layte
English 3BH
28 May 2014
Their Eyes Were Watching God

Each and every individual faces obstacles and limitations unique to their own circumstances, and the way that those obstacles are met and overcome ultimately determine the fulfillment and happiness that person is able to acquire. Perhaps one of the most influential but commonly looked over influences on one’s development is the attitude of others, in addition to one’s own attitude. While a kind, strong, responsible, driven attitude can empower one to lead a fulfilling life, the positivity of others is equally as effective. Whether it be despite perseverance and optimism of the individual or in junction with ...view middle of the document...

Nanny justifies her decision to have an arranged marriage for Janie with her own past; she lived a life of slavery where she was raped and gave birth to a child who befell the same fate. From early on, Nanny exclaimed that, “De nigger woman is de mule ud de world so fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin’ fuh it tuh be different wid you." (Hurston 14) While it is evident that Nanny was doing what she genuinely thought to be in the best interest of Janie’s future, she was giving Janie a terrible foundation for her thinking and expectations of the world. Because of blacks’ position in the world, particularly women, Janie is trained to believe that she shouldn’t ask for much more than what Nanny plans for her to have; A marriage that would guarantee security and financial stability to Janie. Rather than lead a life of ambition and fulfillment of her own needs, Janie was barred from doing as she pleased, and was cornered into years of unhappiness with her first husband, Logan Killicks--all for the objective collateral of wealth and property ownership.
Unsurprisingly, Janie is limited by her arranged marriage with Logan Killicks. As an ugly, old, tired man, Logan counteracts Janie’s young exuberance terribly as an antithesis to everything she represents: youth, beauty, hope. With Logan Killicks’ character contradicting Janie’s traits and personality, being bound to this man for years of empty marriage negatively affects Janie. Nanny had convinced Janie that marriage guaranteed love at some point, and Janie was tragically disappointed to come to the realization that this statement was not true; even the wealth and stability that Nanny had dreamed of for Janie was not enough to keep her happy. Janie still maintains hope that she could find love somewhere within her relationship with Logan, but considering that possibility is wroughtly turned down by Nanny who scoffs at Janie, saying, “Everybody got tuh tip dey hat tuh you and call you Mis’ Killicks, and you come worryin’ me ‘bout love." Her desire to find love and happiness is considered to be ridiculous, even by her own maternal figure, and despite her unhappiness, she is forced to stay with Logan Killicks for years. Surely the lack of support and recognition of Janie’s wants and needs from those around her is detrimental to Janie’s own prioritization of those wants and needs.
Logan simply amplifies the negative effect Nanny has on Janie. Rather than showing affection or love towards Janie, as a husband should, Logan is constantly passing judgment on Janie, and mistreating her. He accuses Janie of having an entitled attitude, and says to Janie, “You think youse white folks by de way you act…Ah’m too honest and hard-workin’ for anybody in yo’ family.” (Hurston 32) Not only does Logan insult Janie and her family, but he provides no compassion towards Janie, nor encouragement for her to try to become a better person. In her relationship with Logan Killicks, Janie is constantly unappreciated and looked down...

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