Love and Marriage
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
is a novel about a Southern black woman and her
experiences through life. Janie, the main character, is
forced at a young age by her grandmother, into an
arranged marriage with a man named Logan. Janie is told
to learn to love Logan, but the love never comes for
Logan in Janie's heart so she leaves him. She meets a
man named Joe. Soon after they are married. Joe was
sweet at first, then his true feelings about women come
out and Janie looses her love she thought she had for
him. He soon dies after their separation. Janie then
falls in love with a man named Tea Cake. He is the man
with whom she has a wonderful, loving, happy marriage.
Janie, through youth and lack of empowerment, is mislead
to believe other people's definitions of love and
marriage until she is strong enough to find a
relationship on her own which satisfies her personal
definitions of love and marriage.
Nanny, Janie's grandmother, leads her to believe
that love comes after marriage though love is secondary
to the security marriage provides. Nanny feels marriage
was simply for security and to start a family. 'Taint
Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have baby, it's
protection.';(pg. 14). Nanny says this to Janie before
her arranged marriage to Logan. Nanny wants Janie to be
financially set with her life before she dies and leaves
Janie to fend for herself. Nanny wants her to start a
family. Nanny makes Janie think that love is just
going to come along after the marriage. Right after
Janie's marriage to Logan, Janie says she is going to
go into her kitchen and wait for the love to begin.
Nanny lets Janie believe that you need a man to take
care of you and provide for you. According to Nanny,
you have to marry a man who has money because too much
trouble comes with marrying a poor man.
Joe marries Janie strictly for social appearance.
Joe wants to have empowerment and he thinks a woman,
like Janie, would help his image. He wants to run a
town and the only way he feels he can look good is to
have a pretty woman by his side. In the beginning of
their marriage Joe treats he like a queen. He tells her
that his woman needs to relax in the shade sipping on
molasses water and fanning herself from the hot sun.
Janie fell in love with the idea. Joe's words, however,
were deceiving. He actually means that woman need to
stay home to cook and clean while the man goes out to
make the money. Joe often puts Janie down in public
saying things like, 'Thank yuh fuh yo compliments, but
mah wife don't know nothin bout no speech makin....