In a novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God written by Zora Hurston, the main character Janie Crawford was portrayed to be Zora Hurston. Janie was raised by her grandmother and was privilege with some things other African American did not have. She was bullied for these privileges but eventually grew up and found out that she is more than what they say. Her first husband was not by her choice, her grandmothers dying wish was for her to marry her and as an appreciation act towards her grandmother, she agreed. Her second husband did not appreciate her well enough and his death gave great pleasure to Janie. Tea Cake who is the third and last husband showed true loved to her and she very much appreciated it. Janie is a powerful protagonist and she emphasizes a self-finding character trait where through love she finds herself to be independent and she’s also an incurable romantic.
At the beginning of the novel, Janie talks about love and finding true love as it was the road of finding herself. She impatiently kisses a boy which brought a concern to her grandmother. Her grandmother rushes her to marry and, “So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation.” She acknowledged that finding her true love would be difficult in the sense that she got married to a man that she feels he does not satisfy her worth. Janie learns that being a legitimate wife of a landholder isn’t enough for her because she doesn’t like being told what to do and can’t live a purely perfunctory life without any romance. This marriage made Janie trapped and ran away to a potential true love. This new lover Joe Starks views Janie as an accessory to his work. He does not appreciate her enough and gives her little freedom. “Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home.” Starks lessen Janie’s voice and through that Janie learned that silence can also be a source of empowerment and learns to control it. Janie finally expressed her thoughts and mind to the town after Joe Starks dies.
Janie lived under Joe’s thumb for so long, that she became cautious when she first meets her “lover”, named Tea Cake. He’s much younger than she is, for one thing, and he doesn’t seem reliable. But, Tea Cake persists in his courtship and eventually Janie’s heart is won over by his fun-loving, egalitarian nature—he respects her as an equal and takes her on midnight fishing trips. “Janie awoke next morning… feel him and almost see him bucking around the room in the upper air… beginning of things.” She’s so swept off her feet that she marries him and embarks on a new, rural life. And, despite what her nosy neighbors think, she ends up liking her change in material status. Even though she’s not well-to-do, she enjoys the freedom it brings. Now that she’s not chained to middle-class values, she can associate with everyone she wants and speak out freely. Tea Cake doesn’t try to tame or stifle Janie’s nature; he even encourages her to try new things, like checkers and hunting. The secret to Janie and Tea Cake’s marriage is their communication with each other; they talk out their troubles and constantly reassure each other of their love.
Although relationships are implied to be necessary to a fulfilling life, Janie’s quest for spiritual fulfillment is fundamentally a self-centered one. She is alone at the end yet seems content. She liberates herself from her unpleasant and unfulfilling relationships with Logan and Jody, who hinder her personal journey. Through her relationship with Tea Cake, Janie experiences true fulfillment and enlightenment and becomes secure in her independence. She feels a deep connection to the world around her and even feels that the spirit of Tea Cake is with her. Now even though she is alone, she doesn’t feel alone, she has grown and learned independence can overcome loneliness.
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