Janie and Jasmine and Gender, Oh My College

Gender and sexuality have become so deeply rooted into society that we apply them to most anything without ever giving it a second thought. The portrayals of gender in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine are prime examples of how gender identity crisis and sexual awakening happens to everyone regardless of culture. The main characters Janie and Jasmine both live in rural, less than ideal living conditions compared to others around them. Janie is a rather submissive character in a world of mostly misogynistic men. Jasmine grows up in a culture where women are treated as property of men. The experiences of these two women are similar. Tea Cake and Prakash, respectively, are both able to bring out the best qualities in their wives. Unfortunately, gender discrimination is something that will probably never go away. Still, women such as Janie and Jasmine are able to lower the intensity of the discrimination that they face by changing the spaces they are in and the people in which they decide to include in those spaces.

Janie, from Their Eyes Were Watching God, is perhaps the most aware about how certain spaces will have different impacts on how she is treated by men. Hurston relies...

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