"Their Eyes Were Watching God" Essay (With Quotes)

1146 words - 5 pages

In the moving novel, "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston depicts the life and struggles of a black woman named Janie Mae Crawford. Zora Neale Hurston uses the literary technique of symbols to represent the plot and emotions of Janie throughout the novel. Janie is held back by some of these symbols but breaks free from oppression which silences her feelings and gains strength when she escapes the power of them. Most importantly displayed are the symbols of the pear tree, hair and the event of a hurricane. Janie progresses through stages symbolized by these symbols and evolves emotionally to a strong and enduring woman.From the start of the novel Janie is revealed as a person with good intentions and wishful dreaming. After marrying in hopes of love and security Janie says, "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think" (24). Janie had wounded up marrying to fulfill her Grandma's last wish; yet, unwittingly Janie had thought love came with marriage but instead she found none. She wanted her marriage to be a pleasure and something she could easily express herself in like a life under a pear tree. Ironically, instead she had found it to be a chore with no love, no self-expression and vulgarly hating the marriage. Yet, Janie continues to dream about a happy life, "Oh to be a pear tree--any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world" (11). This comparison of life to a pear tree in bloom is Janie's way of saying she wanted to experience the good part of life; the bloom. She wanted love and respect like a bloomed pear tree is with bee's kissing it. However, she most especially wanted to let her own personality bloom and to be able to live and act the way she desired to. Zora Neale Hurston begins the novel with Janie dreaming of a distant ideal and tranquility, however there are many stages full of obstacles that awaits her before she can reach her dreams.In the journey to reach her dreams and the pear tree ideal Janie travels along a road with a steep hill and thorns. The steep hill with thorns is Janie's second marriage to Jody Starks, "This business of the head-rag inked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was NOT going to show in the store" (55). Janie is restricted from showing her hair and is required to always have it in a head-rag. This restriction is also a restriction on her feminism and her self-expression. It is the chain that bonds her to Jody and it is the cell that oppresses her. Until Janie can break free from the head-rag and let her hair loose, Janie would remain oppressed from her self expression of her emotions; because of this, Janie is incapable of achieving her dreams and finding her pear tree. However, after the passing of her husband Jody, Janie is set free, "She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was there" (87). This is the moment Janie had been awaiting; the...

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