Eyes Were Watching God Summary and Analysis
Zora Neale Hurston’s most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was first published in 1937, but the characters she created and the situations they face are timeless, and still reverberate strongly today. Issues of love, control, and independence are common themes to all of humanity, and though both the author’s and the main character’s identities as African-American women highlight these issues, they in no way limit the impact of this novel on readers with a different identity. Instead, the depth and humanity with which the characters, especially the main character of Janie Crawford, are portrayed makes this novel speak to readers of all backgrounds. The yearnings of Janie to achieve her independence and some semblance of harmony with the world are things that all human beings can identify with. At times, the characters do seem somewhat larger-than-life, but this only helps to illustrate the points made in the book. Similarly, many of the plot points in the book seem slightly too convenient and unbelievable at times. The overall effect of these apparent flaws, however, is to render a much sharper picture about what it means to find individual power as a human being in a way that would not have been possible by more subtle means.
The book opens at the end of the plot, with Janie returning to the all-black town of Eatonville, Florida after burying her third and final husband (Hurston, 4). Dialogue is very heavy in this opening chapter, and in much of the rest of the book as well, yet Janie’s voice is not recorded for the first several pages. Instead, the narrator notes that “her speech was pleasant enough, but she kept walking straight on to the gate” (Hurston, 4). Though the reader does not yet know Janie’s story, she is immediately seen as someone wise and in control, especially amidst the chaos of the people surrounding her at her arrival. This makes an instant connection between her and the reader.
Janie is the character with whom I personally most identify in this book. Her struggles mirror my own in many ways. Her struggle to find and maintain her independence without shirking her true responsibilities reminds of the balancing act I walk in my family. Janie’s grandmother forces Janie to marry Logan Killicks, an older and relatively well-off farmer, in order to protect Janie from wrong turns in life. The way Logan treats Janie, as a commodity rater than a human being, soon convinces the her that life with Logan isn’t worth it, and she makes plans to run off with Jody Starks. One quote from the novel at this scene that really struck a chord with me is: “she turned wrongside out just standing there and feeling” (Hurston, 40). This quote is integral to the novel, and explains how Janie often feels when she is caught in a situation with no completely good solution. It is also something I can especially identify with, as being emotionally turned “wrongside out” by situations at lest as difficult as Janie’s in this scene is something that is all to familiar with me.
It was somewhat scarier to discover and admit how much I identified with Tea Cakes, Janie’s third husband, as well. Though she is married to Jody for over twenty years, she eventually admits to herself that the way he treats her — keeping her away from the social life in Eatonville, where the couple owns and operates a store that makes them quite wealthy, and generally controlling her life — is not right or acceptable. Janie feels that her “image of Jody tumbled down and shattered,” and she ends up berating Jody in front of the town (Hurston, 68). He beats her, and their relationship basically ends. Jody dies a few months later, while Janie is berating him for a second time. Many men are after her for marriage, but the roguish Tea Cakes is the man she chooses. Life with Tea Cakes is better, as Janie finally seems to have found true love; someone with whom she can live in harmony while retaining her independence. This turns out not to be entirely true, however, as in one incident Tea Cakes slaps her in public, not to be mean, exactly, but because “being able to whip her reassured him in possession (Hurston, 176). Though I do not like this part of myself, I can absolutely identify with such feelings — it sometimes seems like anger and even violence are the only effective ways to exert control over emotionally charged situations.
The major conflicts in the novel all have to do with Janie’s search fro two things: her independence, and someone she can share life with on her own terms. It is clear the she achieves the first goal, but her success in finding love and harmony is a little more unclear. Before she and Tea Cakes come together, the narrator explains Janie’s thoughts about what it means to be a human in harmony — God created man as something that “sung all the time and glittered all over,” and the jealous angels broke that stuff up into tiny sparks and covered them with mud, “and the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb” (Hurston, 96). This explains the difficulty of finding a connection with another “spark”; there is too much mud in the way with most people to make this an easy task.
This passage demonstrates the way that conflicts are often presented symbolically or metaphorically in the novel. The incident with the mule, which Jody buys to impress Janie because she feels sorry for it, symbolizes the way Jody treats and acts as if he owns Janie. There are many other examples of parallel symbols and metaphors throughout the book. Bt however the conflicts are presented, they are usually solved by Janie’s determination to change the situation. Her strength is the driving force in the novel, and though her solution is often to simply leave her problems behind, this is often the best choice, both in the novel and in life.
I have not gone through three marriages, nor was I raised by my grandmother, but I have experienced many conflicts similar to Janie’s. Dealing with an alcoholic father can often be like dealing with an ultra-possessive husband; he lashes out in anger when he feels like he is losing control, which is quite often. Like Janie, I have had to develop the strength to deal with this and protect myself and my siblings from his anger while at the same time carving out my own independent identity. Janie also deals with a lot of gossip, but decides that she doesn’t care what other people think — she has finally learned how to live life on her own terms, and explains her relationship with the poor and much younger Tea Cakes by saying with renewed empowerment, “Dis ain’t no business proposition, and no race after property and titles. Dis is uh love game. Ah done lived Grandma’s way, now Ah means tuh live mine” (Hurston, 108).
This is the most important lesson for living in the book. We cannot live for anyone else, not entirely, so to find satisfaction and fulfillment we must live for ourselves. This does not mean ignoring others, but rather helping them in ways the w are best capable without sacrificing our own identities. This message is as uplifting as the events of the book are depressing, which leads to a messy yet enjoyable tangle of emotions for the reader. I felt sad, frustrated, and triumphant at various moments in the book, and sometimes a combination of all three. Zora Neale Hurston’s great skill in Their Eyes Were Watching God is in creating characters that are simply too human not to be connected with. Janie’s story is one of growing wisdom, which I can only hope to emulate.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more