Their Eyes Were Watching God

A Voice of Abandonment

In Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is encouraged to develop her own personality throughout the book, and she is forced into constant movement down roads after being abandoned by her grandmother and her three husbands. This movement allows her the opportunity to explore and form her ideas and voice in solitude. These external variables cause her to look inward and not depend on others as a source of survival. When she finally comes to terms with her influence, she stops fleeing. She realizes that her voice can be heard no matter where she is.

Janie's grandmother and primary caretaker, passes away when Janie is only seventeen years old, this is the rudimentary cause of her flight. In counseling and pacifying Janie, Nanny says that she wanted to "throw up a highway through the wilderness" for her, so that "she [Janie] would expound what Ah [Nanny] felt" (15). Nanny knows that she will be unable to reach a point of freedom to exhibit her own voice in her lifetime, nonetheless this goal is crucial; consequently, she feels that by passing on her stories of slavery and strife to her granddaughter, Janie will accomplish what she has always strived for, and she too will be free....

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