In Hurstonr’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie, the main character, did not fit into the three communities of North Florida, Eatonville or the Muck. She always seemed to be an outsider in those communities. The quote I choose is Ships at a distance have every manr’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they dont want to remember and remember everything they dont want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly. (1.1-2)
She gained a sense of power, due to being alienated from those communities and it allowed her to grow. If she would have been an active member in either community, she would not have been able to grow and change into the person she was meant to be. It is assumed this novel takes place around the late 1920r’s, due to the historical references in the book. This was a time when blacks and whites were still segregated but everyone still had dreams for their lives, despite color. The love that Janie saught after was jaded by the way Janie was treated by the men in her life. She yearned for respect and equality, while her nanny thought what was best for her was to get married to have financial stability. She at first aimed to please everyone, especially her nanny, but realized that it ultimately did not make her happy.
Her American dream was about finding herself and with that came along gaining personal freedom and finding true love. The freedom she found was not in a relationship but in lonesomenss and becoming a widow. This part of the quote, Now, women forget all those things they dont want to remember and remember everything they dont want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly; represents Janier’s American Dream by the fact that women can mold themselves from their past into what they want to be. To learn and grow from your experiences make you into the person you are meant to be. Women, especially women of color were supposed to be subservient to men. Janie just wants to be an equal and a free woman that has her our thoughts and dreams. As the novel unfolds Janier’s life experiences embodies who she becomes as she has a self-realization. She discovers things about herself she did not know before which shapes her into the woman she was truly meant to be. She realized she could only rely on herself for the love and care she was in so desperate need of and was searching for her whole life. The author shows that men and women have different dreams and goals and that is why many relationships dont work out.
The nature of relationships and culture of this time period was what the novel focused on. However, today, relationships should be based on mutual respect and support of each otherr’s individual dreams and dreams they have together. To have a dream for happiness and success, and the hope of achieving it is what keeps the dream going for many Americans. Janie earns her freedom and happiness by the end of the novel. Her plight in life was one filled with struggles but she learned from the pain and learned about herself too. The American dream is your own, but you grow and learn things about yourself throughout your journey. Hurston, Zora Neale, et al. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Virago Press, 2018.
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