Zora Neale Hurston Essay

2196 words - 9 pages

Thesis statement:
In addition to the frequent references to nature, certain animals have symbolic weight in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The animal with the greatest symbolic charge in this novel is the mule. Mentioned frequently throughout “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, the mule obviously represents the carrier of heavy loads and burdens, but it can also, and does, represent stubborn resistance.

The mule serves to illustrate the strained relationship between Janie and Joe Starks. The figure of the mule can also refer not only to Janie herself but to any black woman struggling for independence. Janie identifies with the mule, which remains stubbornly independent despite its ...view middle of the document...

Their Eyes Were Watching God is a novel that was written by an African American author, Zora Neale Hurston. The book was launched in 1937 and primarily focuses on the life experiences of the protagonist Janie Crawford (Bloom 59). The story is set in central and southern Florida and epitomizes Janie’s search for self-awareness through love and relationships (Bowers 83). At the heart of the entire narration are the three marriages that Janie has gone through. The story analyses the quest for fulfillment, self-awareness and freedom by the main character through the experiences she had specifically in her three respective marriages. The story is told of her through a comprehensive flashback of her closest ally, Pheoby. The plot emanates in manner that after her extensive marriages, it becomes the role of Pheoby to narrate the story to the unaccommodating crowd (Scott 49). The book is an account of Janie’s struggle for self-awareness and fulfillment and the things she went through in order to achieve that.
Janie was brought up by her grandmother after the disappearance of her mother upon her birth. Her mother had a lot of expectations in her daughter. When she escaped she passed all these expectations upon Janie. Hence, she wanted Janie to live a life that she has never lived. As a result, she married her to a Logan Killicks, an older farmer (Snodgrass 12). However, Janie became so miserable since she did not get the love that she wanted. She eloped with a sweet talking man called glib Jody Starks to another place where they get married. Jody was a wealthy man who is also a political leader (Hermes et al 64). He treats Janie as a trophy woman. Most of his treatments are not accepted by her but she perseveres until her marriage ends. After her second marriage, Janie is financially independent. Therefore, she rejects the many suitors who come her way but falls in love with Vergible Woods and they get married (Levine and Novel Units, Inc. Staff 25). Eventually, Janie becomes so happy since she gets the love and freedom that she needed. In fact woods treat her as an equal and she enjoy she marriage so much. Conversely, after being bitten by a rabbit during the hurricane, woods tries to shoot Janie but Janie manages to shoot her in self defense. The end of the third marriages wraps up the experiences of Janie (Lester 76). She returns home to a very anxious neighborhood. She relies on Pheoby to tell her story.
I find the book to be very constructive in its presentation of the themes and styles. Essentially, the author manages to provide several subjects to the reader through Janie’s experiences (McMahand 70). I tend to believe that the experiences of Janie are synonymous with those of many other people especially women of African American descent. So, the book perfectly epitomizes the quest for fulfillment and the inherent price towards the achievement of such an endeavor.
The book is written in a very distinctive manner (Collins 36)....

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