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From the opening of this novel, Hurston's approach is seen to revolve around the stereotypical notions of the roles of women. Hurston tries to show the fundamental differences between women and men. For instance, Janie who is the main character does not want any male identity. In this natural world, the impulses of female and male complements each other and this creates a good union in a mutual embrace. In this book, there is a love and fulfillment ideal at Janie's quest. The jealousy of women towards others that is shown on this novel is a true phenomenon since it happens in our daily lives. Also, Tea Cake's action of taking money from Janie and going with a younger woman is a behavior that is seen in some men in the society.
Through the conversation between Nanny and Janie in chapter three, the author demonstrates the difference between them on their respective world views. For instance, Nanny perceives relationships as a pragmatism matter. Just like many husbands in the world, Logan is portrayed as a good husband who is honest, well off and hard working who is able to offer physical security and shelter to Janie. The book also shows brings out how Janie is looking for deeper fulfillment that is characterized by emotional connection and physical passion. This is a reason why; she doesn't love Logan alongside her view that Logan is ugly and a man who does not speak well to her.
Throughout the novel, there is a horizon symbol that represents our natural world. "Janie knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. For instance, Jody is ambitious as he talks of future plans such as conquest and travel to Janie. Janie considers these plans as the right path to reach the far horizon. Jody is able to purchase and control the world around him but his interacting manner does not secure any happiness to Janie. At this point, H, the author represents a fact on what happens in the world as women are easily lured into relationships by such powers like Jody's but they end up being disappointed in life.
The idea of marriage disintegration which is found in society is well brought out in this novel. For example, the interest of Janie in marriage is waned at this point. She legalizes that her marriage relationship with Jody will not assist her reach her dreams. They both realize that their relationship has not delivered what they anticipated. I am in the agreement of the author's ideas because people enter into marriage relationships having high expectations but the end in undesirable conditions likened to Janie and Jody relationship.
The book also shows that some men in the world are in a position to liberate women from their problematic situations. For example, Janie perceives her relationship with Tea Cake as the one that leads her to the attainment of her dreams. In this relationship, she enjoys freedom of speech and respect from Tea Cake which contrasts the Jody's relationship. Therefore the marriages that are characterized by respect and the required freedom make the involved happy and satisfied. For instance, women should be made to laugh through jokes and other creative wordplays. Hurston maintains an emphasis on the speech interaction. The quest of Janie is to get her own voice and the her description for Tea Cake is important. The love for Tea Cake by Janie is seen to be framed in terms of language and helping Janie to find freedom the aspects that leads her to the intended horizon. This is portrayed by the successive marriages in the contemporary world.
The book is one of the most celebrated Hurston's books with her unique mastery and use of language. She utilizes a narrative structure and with long discourse passages which discusses culturally rich voices in Janie's world. The characters in the book speak like many other American literatures.
The book discusses many themes and symbols some of which can be related to the society we live in. the central character is Janie, who was born to love and has done it through three marriages. From the first marriage with a middle aged steady but unsympathetic farmer she runs away with Joe Starks who is a delightful Negro go-getter. When he becomes too successful, he doesn't love her anymore and so she goes off to marry Tea Cake. Tea Cake is a shiftless gambler. The story then shows their work together at on a plantation in Florida until a hurricane that later brings a dramatic end.
One weak spot for the novel is the technical part. Zora Neale Hurston executes the novel in a too complex and wordily manner. Through the preceding chapters, she gives a picture of a shrewd Negro picture. The book starts awkwardly with a confusing and unnecessary preview of the end. The novel also has some dramatic ends like the story of hurricane I feel is hurriedly and clumsily handled although there is a constant sense of character in action. As great novelist, she awfully has something nonsense to write about Negroes with such simple tenderness that her story is filled with ache of her own people. This may be due to the fact that she is not very much pre-occupied with the current fetish of the primitive. According to her, Janie wants sweet things with mah marriages.
In the novel, Hurston brings out gender inequality especially Janie sticks with Tea Cake despite his uncalled for behavior and lapses in judgment. Tea Cake treats her terribly sometimes and dominates her emotions. The writer shows us that despite this kind of treatment, Janie does not mind this kind of treatment. The acceptance of gender inequality stems from the gender differences that she postulates from the beginning of the novel. In the subsequent chapters, the writer implies that men have a fundamental need for possession that the women lack. This though seems to have changed that when women are that dominated and suppressed in a relationship, they may opt for a divorce or separation in our current society. Women have been liberated and although in some parts there is still that kind of dominance, they will opt for the best from their partners than compromise. Modern readers will be surprised that the bad treatment had such little effect on Janie.
Many people will agree to criticize their eyes were watching God because of its atypical discussion of race. Hurston is a black author and as such is expected to deal with the issue of race in stark political terms. But her presentation of race is however nuanced and free of any political diatribe. Huston attributes a near cosmic significance to Mrs. Turner's racism she tries to show us that in her obsession with whiteness, "she "like all the other believers had built an altar to the unattainable." In the discussion of Turner's racism, the narrator loses her folksy tone and flies off to omniscient and high poetry.
The book climaxes on a bad note in chapter 18. There is the battle of hurricane. It is compounded by Janie's confusing, unpredictable and threatening forces. Throughout the book, the characters are able to operate under the illusion that they can control the environment and secure a good place for themselves in the world but not Janie. Tea Cake has his ease in the natural environment and even his supernatural skill in gambling as well as Jody who tries to play God. But for Janie, she is humbled by most situations; Mrs. Tuner's racism, doctrines to which Nanny, Logan and Jody adhere to, sexism of Eatonville's men and finally the death of her husband, Tea Cake, to which she cannot defeat these forces but bear their pain. This is too much from the author for a woman who wants to find 'love'. Finally, the image of Janie trying to pull in her horizon contrasts with the opening image of the men's ship at a distance. This is a big letdown to women who want to dream and achieve big because it shows that men, regardless of their success or failure they dream of great accomplishments of working and changing the external world.