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Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay by   •  April 26, 2016  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,509 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,711 Views

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The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is categorized as prestigious literature due to it's valuable and applicable life lessons. The story follows through a series of life-changing event and the fact that they have had on her personality. The transformation of the character leads the reader to be understanding that Jamie is the novel's primary representation of a dynamic character. The notable change would never have happened if certain events had not occurred. From analyzing the structure used to alter Janie's personality, and how the story was pretrade over a lengthy period of time, it can be concluded that Their Eyes Were Watching God is a bildungsroman.

Janie's relationships with her several suitors proved to be influential on her personality in terms of giving her an ultimatum of whether to adapt to the lifestyle that they are offering her, or to leave. This struggle to choose between staying of leaving can be observed through her personal behavior as well as her interactions with other characters in the book. For example, in the beginning, Janie is portrayed as a young girl who does not have a lot of responsibility. Later on, after marrying Logan, Janie gets a sense of obligation. However, she still maintains a shred of carelessness when she leaves Logan to be with Jody. In this relationship, Janie developed more social graces due to her exposure to the public from Jody's status. She and Jody clashed due to Janie's respect for herself and Jody's lack of it. This is noticeable when Janie gives Jody a piece of her mind by saying, "But Ah ain't goin' outa here and Ah ain't gointuh hush. Naw, you gointuh listen tuh me one time befo' you die. Have yo' way all yo' life, trample and mash down and then die ruther than tuh let yo'self heah 'bout it. Listen, Jody, you ain't de Jody ah ran off down de road wid. You'se whut's left after he died. Ah run off tuh keep house wid you in uh wonderful way. But you wasn't satisfied wid me de way Ah was. Naw! Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowded out tuh make room for yours in me." (8.39). She expresses that men try to keep women down by silencing their voices. Since she believes that a person's words are a direct product of their mind, Janie recognizes that Jody's attempts to silence her are a direct intrusion on her very thoughts and feelings. After putting up with all of Jody's faults, Janie could not let stand to let him go without letting all her suppressed anger be heard. Lastly, Janie's relationship with Teacake pushed her into developing a patience that expanded her sense of dedication and commitment. This is notable through Janie's continuous forgiveness of Teacake's repeated transgressions against her. By analyzing this the reader learns that Janie's relationships led her to find it within herself to evolve her work ethic, social presence, as well as her emotional endurance and commitment. Also, after the storm, Janie finds herself to be more serious in the decisions she makes. This is a drastic change from being carefree and jubilant. The circumstances of her life become more complicated but the way she goes about making her decisions simplifies in terms of how she orders her priorities. For example, she took care to Teacake when he fell ill and was willing to try anything to help him. Yet, when faced with the predicament of defending herself against Teacake's violence, Janie made the dire decision to abandon Teacake's best interests and protect herself. When Janie was put in a situation where it became necessary for her to choose life for one of them and death for the other, Zora Neale Hurston wrote that, "No knowledge of fear nor rifles nor anything else was there. He paid no more attention to the pointing gun than if it were Janie's dog finer. She saw him stiffen himself all over as he leveled and took aim. The fiend in him must kill and Janie was the only living thing he saw." (19.151). Janie's younger self would never have dreamed that her life would have taken that course. However, after everything she had been through, Janie developed a sense of self preservation that took form in her capability to kill someone she loved in order to protect herself. Her ability to make that choice lets the reader know just how much of her fundamental values have changed, resulting in Janie being a different person at the end of her journey from when she embarked on it.




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