Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Alpha Female

The Alpha Female

Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God shows the Southern black women not as the weak and submissive slaves of their husbands, but rather, Eyes traces the development of Janie as the independent black woman. Stepping over her three husbands over the course of her adolescence to middle-age adulthood, she establishes her own role in the community. Fundamental differences between men and women govern her relationship with these men; but regardless, she triumphs over all of them. By taking strength from Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake, Janie, in effect, becomes the alpha male.

In her first marriage with Logan Killicks, Janie is too young and inexperienced to realize the complexities of male and female communication. Drawn into the fantasy of the "dust-bearing bee sink[ing] into the sanctum of a bloom", she thinks that marriages are a simple unification of any man with any woman like any bee to any blossom. Directed by her grandmother, Janie marries Logan, a man who although certainly deserves some merit for his self-subsistence farm, definitely lacks the power to be the alpha male. Instead, he attempts to compensate for his lack of physical attractiveness with Janie the most desirable...

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