Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay

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Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God describes the life of Janie, a black woman at the turn of the century. Janie is raised by her Grandmother and spends her life traveling with different men until she finally returnes home. Robert E. Hemenway has said about the book, “Their Eyes Were Watching God is ... one of the most revealing treatments in modern literature of a woman’s quest for a satisfying life” I partially disagree with Hemenway because, although Janie is on a quest, it is not for a satisfying life. I believe that she is on a quest for someone on whom to lean. Although she achieves a somewhat satisfying life, Janie’s quest is for dependence rather than satisfaction. The first two people Janie depended on were her Grandmother, whom she called Nanny, and Logan Killicks. Janie’s marriage to Logan Killicks was partially arranged by Nanny. Nanny had felt the need to find someone for Janie to depend on before she died and Janie could no longer depend on her. At first, Janie was very opposed to the marriage. Nanny responded with, “’Tain’t Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it’s protection. ...He (God) done spared me...a few days longer till Ah see you safe in life.”(p.14) Nanny instilled the sense of needing a man for safety on Janie that Janie keeps with her throughout her life. After Nanny’s death, Janie continued to stay with Logan despite her dislike for him. She would have left immediately, however, if she did not need to depend on him. The next man Janie has to lean on is Joe Starks. He was a kind of salvation for Janie. He was a well-dressed black man who had worked for “white folks” all his life and had earned enough to travel to a place where black people ran the town. Janie met Joe while she was still married to Logan. She wanted to leave Logan, but I do not think she would have if Joe had not come

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