Janie's Undying Quest For Love

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Janie’s Undying Quest for Love All human hearts, at their core, desire love. What this love comes to mean can differ from person to person. How one is brought up can greatly influence their view on what true love is and, for some, leave them without happiness. In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie finds true love only when she lets go of what society is telling her to do. Although her Grandmother taught her that love is settling with a wealthy man, Janie does not give up on her vision of love. During her life, Janie learns to let go of others expectations as she comes to the realization that true love is not about wealth and comfort, but rather, it is an exhilarating journey that ultimately leaves her a more satisfied…show more content…
She finds the courage to rise up above societies expectation that she stay in this marriage, and walks out: “S’posin’ Ah wuz to run off and leave yuh sometime” (30). When Janie runs off with Jody, she knows that society will not approve, but she does it anyways because she is after that feeling of lust and desire that she experienced under the pear tree. Jody makes Janie feel good, at least at first. He spoils her with the finest treats and he treats her like a true lady. Also, he was perceived as “socially acceptable” by most everyone; he was a prominent businessman and Governor. Jody, however, was not the love Janie was ultimately seeking; he did not treat her with the respect that a husband should give a wife. Although Janie does not leave him, she once again goes against the status quo. Prior to his death, she confronts him about how he treated her and takes control: “ you goingtuh listen tuh me one time befo’ you die” (86). At the time, a women’s role in a marriage was to take care of the home, produce children, and be obedient to their husbands. Janie, yet again, defying social standards, takes one step closer to finding her true…show more content…
When Janie meets Tea Cake, a poor and adventurous worker, she knows that he is seen as an undesirable and unsuitable match for her: “Janie, everybody’s talkin’ bout how Tea Cake is draggin you round tuh places you ain’t used tuh” (112). Knowing that people saw Tea Cake as an incompatible match did not stop Janie from loving him. Janie understood societies view of him, but did not allow this to stop her from trying to find true love. Through Tea Cake, Janie learned that real love is feeling appreciated and truly desired, and that her past relationships were not love: “Tea Cake love me in blue, so Ah wears it. Jody ain’t never in his life picked out no color for me”(112). Tea Cake’s love made Janie’s life complete. Although it was a tragic event that he ended up dying, he had already provided Janie with the love that she desired throughout her life, and for that, Janie was thankful and satisfied. In the end, when Janie was returned to Eatonville, even though she was without Tea Cake, she stood as a strong woman who knew she had experienced a great love. Janie no longer was searching for what she wanted out of life, she had already found it: “Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.” (193). Defying the expectations of class and society proved to
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