Their Eyes Are Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

1304 words - 5 pages

People are constantly searching for their voices. A voice gives someone independence and the ability to make her own decision. The First Amendment ensures that all United States citizens possess the freedom of speech; however, not all people are given the ability or opportunity to exercise that right. When a person has no voice they rely on others to make their decisions. Throughout Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Are Watching God, Janie constantly struggles to find her voice. Her marriage to Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake help her discover and utilize her voice in different ways. During Janie’s first marriage to Logan she has no voice, Joe silences Janie’s tiniest whisper and controls her similar to a slave; in contrast to Logan and Joe, Tea Cake encourages Janie to use her voice and make her own decisions. Janie cannot express her voice until she discovers happiness and independence through her final marriage.
While Janie’s Nanny forces her into marrying Logan Killicks for security; Logan also lacks love and compassion for Janie and silences her. Janie cannot use her voice when she marries Logan Killicks because of her Nanny. Although Janie knows “exactly whut” she wants to say; expressing her voice is “hard to do” (Hurston 8). From the beginning, Logan does not resemble her perfect pear tree love, which to Janie means a man who instills confidence into his wife and listens to her voice. Logan falls short of fulfilling that dream as he isolates her from the community, leaving her with no voice whatsoever. Realizing her marriage lacks love and compassion which she longs for, Janie comes to understand that her relationship with Logan will not last long .Not only does Janie’s marriage to Logan stifle any hopes of expressing herself; shortly after their marriage begins Logan stops seeing Janie as his beautiful wife and treats her as if she were his worker. Her vision of love does not include manual labor instead it includes rest and relaxation. The voice inside Janie’s head tells her to run off with a different man, yet she is still unable to verbalize her needs and desires. Janie’s voice, however has grown from being silent to a tiny whisper, and with that small boost of courage, Janie overcomes her fears by sharing her thoughts of leaving with Logan. This marriage gave Logan a sense of security, but he fears the “terrible ache” of loneliness (30). When Janie reveals her plan to “run off” with another man and leave Logan, she puts fear in his heart and fills him with anger (30). Finally, after Janie chooses to use her voice, a tough decision lies ahead for her to make since Janie never discovers true love and happiness through her marriage with Logan. She comes to the realization that her marriage needs to end before she becomes a grown woman. Janie “has done lived Grandma’s way” and she desires a life of her own (114). This thought propels Janie to stand up for herself and decide to leave Logan and she uses her voice to confront...

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