Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston

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Henry David Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” This excerpt of wisdom is prevalent in the journey of Janie Mae Crawford, the protagonist in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Janie spends the entirety of the novel searching for love and companionship, and on the way she discovers her truest self. When she finally determines her own identity, she realizes that she is a strong, independent woman of color who can defy the stereotypical standards placed upon women in the early 1900s. Although she initially allowed others to place restrictions on her based on her gender and race, she overcame these boundaries and understood that she did not have to conform to the expectations of …show more content…
Janie would not have normally found Johnny attractive but, “the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes,” (111). This kiss officially establishes Janie’s search for love that extends throughout the story and shapes her identity that is present for the majority of the novel. The next encounter that brings her closer to finding love and her own identity is her marriage to Logan Killicks. In an attempt to please her grandmother and convince herself that she could find the true love she had been yearning for, Janie agreed to an arranged marriage with Logan, a wealthy landowner. Janie’s relationship with Logan made her realize that “marriage did not make love,” (112), due to the fact that she could not force herself to love him. Janie naturally had no true intimate feelings for Logan, but his mistreatment of her only lessened the possibility of Janie putting forth any effort to try to gradually work towards loving him. Janie’s meetings with Joe Starks provoked sentimental feelings that, up until this point, she had never experienced before; these feelings were the driving force behind Janie’s decision to leave Logan. At this point in the novel, we see Janie beginning to rebel against the expectations of others and she establishes the fact that she makes her own choices. However, she has not quite discovered her truest self because there are still external factors that

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