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Essay On "Their Eyes Were Watching God" And The Importance And Symbolism Of Janie's Clothing. Many Quotes, Very Descriptive

2138 words - 9 pages

Love in the HorizonZora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, portrays life as a search for love, freedom, and individual identity. In this novel, we see the characters mature emotionally through their many obstacles in life. People spend their whole lives looking for someone to love, when they must first learn to love themselves.If different variables can influence someone, then clothing is definitely one of these variables in this novel. With each marriage Janie goes through, the clothing that she wears is important in conveying the relationship of the marriage. In each instance, Hurston uses Janie's clothing to show the search for true love, and the influence of the ...view middle of the document...

With a sense of blissfulness that comes with new relationships, Joe seems to be the man of Janie's dreams. When jealousy becomes a factor in the marriage, Janie once again finds herself under the control of her husband. A head rag covers the long dark hair that represents Janie's independence, strength, and beauty. This head rag is the latest command from the man with a "big voice" who wows Janie with words like, "You ain't never knowed what it was to be treated lak a lady and Ah wants to be de one tuh show yuh" (29). The loss of identity which results from the head rag is detrimental to Janie's self-worth, however, Joe's draining effect on Janie's soul does not force her to lose her sense of love and happiness.The head rag comes to define Jody and Janie's whole marriage. Jody's selfishness and his "[not wanting] her to stay young while he grew old" (77), begins to take precedence over Janie's needs and dreams. Like many relationships, the love that once appears so evident seems to no longer to be around. Obviously Janie does not find true love with Jody, for soon their marriage breaks into a silent stalemate. The submissive behavior that follows further continues to bind Janie's spirit, "No matter what Jody did, she said nothing. She had learned how to talk some and leave some. She was a rut in the road" (76).When Jody dies, Janie is again free from all that binds her, most notably her head rag as, " . . . she burnt up every one of her head rags and went about the house next morning with her hair in one thick braid swinging well below her waist" (89). This act of rebellion only happens after Jody's death, because now "She saw no reason to rush at changing things around. She would have the rest of her life to do as she pleased" (89). She no longer will allow anyone to bind her spirit like he has done. Upon Joe's death, Janie discovers that over this long, painful relationship, she changes into a woman, "...she went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features...the young girl was gone but a handsome woman had taken her place" (87).With a better understanding of herself, Janie realizes "she had been getting ready for her great journey to the horizons in search of people...but she off down a road after things" (89). Suddenly Janie discovers that one cannot search for love and find her horizon, her ideal state of being. In fact, one cannot even attain this perfect state of being because "no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you" (89).This horizon of love and fulfillment that Janie searches for nearly reaches achievement with Tea Cake. Janie's realization that marriage is not like the love of a pear tree, much like it proves not to be with Logan and Jody, begins to dissolve when she meets Tea Cake. This man, she believes, "He could be a bee in blossom--a pear tree in blossom in the spring...He was a glance from God" (106). Once she is with him, life is wonderful and she finally feels love, and...

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