"Their Eyes Were Watching God" By Janie Crawford

1132 words - 5 pages

Their Eyes Were Watching God, was panned by the public, and later shelved on bookcases to gather dust. By passing over the story of Janie Crawford, readers lost a remarkable novel, not about the injustices whites had committed on the blacks, but the many paths a human life can take on the journey through life. Essentially, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that follows the character of Janie Crawford as she evolves through each unique event that occurs in her life, leading to the strong theme of self-discovery that the author vividly portrays through metaphorical language.First published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God is a product of the Harlem Renaissance, a time in which African-Americans contributed large volumes of creativity to the American culture. Richard Wright, a contemporary of Hurston=s, said that her novel was themeless and meaningless, while at the same time, W.E.B. DuBois, founder of the NAACP, was pushing the Harlem Renaissance notion of "twoness," a belief that one had to be award of their identity. A reader can draw a strange paradox between "twoness" and "themeless" when discussing Hurston's novel, especially since it is evident that Their Eyes Were Watching God has a prevalent self-discovery theme, much like "twoness." It can be inferred that Hurston put her opening line where she did to draw attention to the difference between "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board (1)," while ". . . women forget all those things they don=t want to remember, and remember everything they don=t want to forget (1)." Men dream and dream forever, while women dream and then do something about it. As one of the few women in the Harlem Renaissance, Hurston wrote her novel, while the men criticized and then continued to dream.The novel opens backwards, with Janie returning to Eatonville to begin her storytelling to Phoebe, her friend. Janie with ". . . firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her hip pockets; the great rope of black hair swinging to her waist . . . (2)," is beautiful, and waiting for love most of her life. With the beginning of her story, the first metaphor makes its entrance. It is an archetype of love: the pear tree. Janie spends much of her time under the pear tree, believing that bees pollinating the fruit is much like true love. After her grandmother, Nanny, finds out about her first kiss over the fence, Janie is married to Logan Killicks, a man with wealth, but the marriage doesn't work out, and Janie soon runs off with Joe Starks, a man with ambition. Janie comes to the bitter realization that marriage is not like the love of a pear tree when she is with Logan and Jody."But anyhow Janie went on inside to wait for love to begin (21)." Janie's marriage to Logan, while promising at first, is more of a waiting game. Janie believes that love will come with marriage, and that she will not have to put any effort forth, but in the end, after being worked like a mule (another metaphor for Janie=s marriage to...

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