Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

1270 words - 6 pages

Leo Rosten once said, "Money can't buy happiness." Janie from Zora Neale Hurston's, Their Eyes Were Watching God, would agree with this famous quote. Janie's first husband is financially stable and her second husband is powerful; but it is with her third marriage where she finally experiences happiness and receives respect. Through the first two marriages, we see how worldly desires and pride can ruin a relationship. Ultimately, Hurston portrays that equality in a relationship truly nourishes a bond far more valuable that materialistic possessions or reputations.
Janie in her first marriage is her far from mesmerized with her husband's 60 acre land. The incompatibility between her and Logan ...view middle of the document...

Janie may have security by being with Logan, but she is unhappy. His pride and masculinity get in the way when he brushes off the topic of Janie leaving him. This makes Janie feel like he does not care about her and that she is wasting her time with him. His lack of communication with Janie symbolizes the despair and emptiness she feels in their marriage. He does not open up to her and so of course the marriage will not work out. Hurston ultimately portrays how unhappy Janie is when she leaves Logan so easily the day after she brought up the topic of her leaving: "Janie hurried out of the gate and turned south" (Hurston 32).
Janie's attraction to Joe Starks' charisma quickly diminishes when his overdose of ambition and controlling personality get the best of him. Although he is a big voice in the town, Janie only sees him as a big voice. All his money and power have no effect on her when all he does is ridicule and control her. He makes it clear where Janie belongs: "Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's uh woman and her place is in de home" (Hurston 43). This is ironic because when she is with Logan, she wants to be in the house doing her own thing, but Joe is making it sound like confinement. It's as if she has no choice in the matter and Joe intends to make his power over her known. People have different desires and sometimes when we get caught up in our success, we can end up hurting others. Joe's reply to Janie is a great example of the insensitivity that can form from the pride we can possibly inherit when we achieve success: "Ah told you in de first beginnin' dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad, 'cause dat makes a big woman outa you" (Hurston 46). Hurston cleverly uses the words "big woman" instead of "big voice" to show how Joe is denying Janie any input or authority. Through him she'll be seen as powerful, but he keeps her powerless. Joe's idea that Janie should be happy because they are living well is what truly makes her unhappy. Joe values his leadership more than Janie, leading him to neglect her. He feels like he is better than everyone and so he puts Janie on a high chair where she does not associate with other people. This high chair is something that she resents because he is using her only to uphold his reputation as the man who has it all.
Janie's third husband Tea Cake is far from wealthy like Logan or powerful...

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