Their Eyes Were Watching God

Living for Yourself in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Through Janie's growth from a girl so far removed from any identity that she doesn't know her own race, to a woman strong enough to return to her hometown that wants nothing more than to revel in her miseries, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God shows that the only way to achieve fulfillment is to ignore society's pigeonholing and concentrate on one's own desires, all the while avoiding selfishness. This is highlighted as Janie moves through abusive relationships to one which finally allows her room for her own thoughts and dreams. The novel itself serves as a model for independence as it shuns the stereotypical makeup of black literature, focusing sparingly on black-white relations but instead magnifying the black female interior, implying that she has the power to control her own destiny.

The novel opens as Janie returns to her town the recipient of cutting remarks about her marriage to the younger Tea Cake. She walks right on by the porch-sitters, prompting this remark from one: "'Don't keer what it was, she could stop and say a few words with us. She act like we done done something to her. She de one been doin' wrong.'" (3) Janie has clearly learned something from...

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