Good Example Of The Eyes Were Watching God Essay
There is every reason to believe what many literary critics called Janie the ‘New Black woman,’ as true. Jamie is a rebel of sorts, and her character defies the general practices and portrayal of black women in America. The novel, The Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston is centered on Janie Crawford, who wants to lead her life her own way. Right at the start of the book, Hurston describes the kind of woman the protagonist is by saying; “So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead” (Hurston). Traditionally, women hardly took part in burying their dead, but by indicating that the woman in question had come back from burying the dead, Hurston prepares her readers to think of her protagonist differently. Hurston then goes on to present ‘the woman’ through a series of questions, and one such question that gives the reader a better nuance of the woman is “What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? (Hurston). Here, Hurston reveals the age of the woman and her appearance. If the woman, who is none other than Janie Crawford, walks around like a girl of twenty, there is enough evidence to show that she defied tradition. It would be unreasonable for a black woman to walk around town alone, especially after sunset, and by doing so, she is actually challenging the traditional societal norms.
Janie was never content with what she had, and she was willing to gamble with her life to achieve love and independence. It all started with Logan Killicks, a stodgy old potato farmer, to whom Janie’s grandmother fixed her marriage. Janie never loved Killicks, and she showed her displeasure in marrying an older man in no uncertain ways. When Joe Starks offered to give her the world, Janie left Killicks, only to find out that though she managed to get economic security and an enviable position as the mayor’s wife, she was never going to be happy with him. It was not until she ran into Tea Cake, a migrant worker, did Janie find true love. As Starks’ wife, Janie had everything, and for her to part ways with him gives her a special place among women. As Starks thought loudly about her one day when she looked sullen and forlorn; “just too many women would be glad to be in her place. He ought to box her jaws!’ (Hurston), it just goes to show that Janie was different from other women of her time. Any woman, black or white would have been more than happy, as Starks said, to be in a position of respectability and comfort, and though Janie had these through her marriage to Starks, she wasn’t happy enough. “Here he was just pouring honor all over her” (Hurston), yet she seemed remorseful.
“She took careful stock of herself, then combed her hair and tied it back up again” (Hurston). This line exemplifies her character. Any normal woman, who, on seeing her dead husband would cry out in agony and deep grief, was not how Janie reacted. She had the courage to stand up, look at her in the eye through the mirror, and after gathering poise, called out to the people of Eatonville that her husband had left her a widow. At his funeral, while she presented a, “Weeping and wailing outside, inside the expensive black folds were resurrection and life” (Hurston). More than feeling a personal loss and abyss, she was behind a curtain, feeling free and exuberant. She was free from the man who kept her from expressing herself publicly, and with his demise, she felt relieved that she could achieve what she wanted from the beginning; a life of independence.
Perhaps the most defining aspect of her character is retold to Phoeby, a few weeks after Tea Cake’s death, when she says, “Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves” (Hurston).
Hurston, Zora Neale. 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'. istianjinelearning.org. N.P., 1990.
Web. 5 Mar. 2015.