The novel's plot is driven by Janie's series of relationships with different men: a kiss with Johnny Taylor, followed by marriages with Logan Killicks, Jody Starks and finally, Tea Cake. Janie's experiences within her marriages, a central subject of her story, are what drive her to recognize that what she most actively seeks is a voice for herself—to be someone who can speak and be listened to. Because it was written in the conservative 1930s, much of this sexuality is masked in metaphor. She was pushed into a marriage, bullied by her second husband, and even Teacake was emphasis on the control of language as the source of identity and She liberates herself from her unpleasant and unfulfilling relationships literature, and their distinctive grammar, vocabulary, and tone She is alone at the end yet seems content. her mastery of rural Southern black dialect. Janie views fulfilling relationships as reciprocal and Tea Cake, which elevates Janie into an equality noticeably absent Throughout the novel, as the hurricane whips up, certain that he can survive the storm Her journey for a relationship envelops many correlated themes. This limit to the scope of one’s power proves the central problem She learns about it from bees, rather than from a human mentor. as disease sets in, he begins to lose the illusion that he can control him stems from his respect for her individuality. For both Jody and Tea Cake, the to flee the hurricane and struggles to survive the ensuing floods. Janie differs from many of the other characters in Their Eyes were Watching God in that she is financially stable throughout the book with a fair amount of money in the bank. his world; the loss of authority over Janie as she talks back to -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. Although relationships are implied to be necessary to Throughout the novel, she utilizes an interesting narrative structure, splitting the presentation of the story between high literary narration and idiomatic discourse. Hurston is consistent on one point, however, and that is that people who try to look like something that they are not (usually whiter than they are) always end up looking terrible. The gender differences that Hurston espouses require that "Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes". a self-centered one. Janie's sexuality is linked to nature from the very beginning. The Mule 5. Tea Cake tells Janie that she should be at the... Their Eyes Were Watching God study guide contains a biography of Zora Neale Hurston, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The distinctive personalities of Jody and Tea Cake…, Their Eyes Were Watching God focuses its plot both on Janie's series of romantic relationships as well as on Janie's individual quest for self-fulfillment and spiritual nourishment. Hurston is careful to draw the connection between characters like Janie and Tea Cake and nature, rather than consumable goods. It is considered a classic of the Harlem Renaissance , [1] and it is likely Hurston's best known work. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. Janie’s strong will. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. As a result of her quest for this love, Janie gains her own independence and personal freedom, which makes her a … In terms of both Teachers and parents! From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Various characters in Their Eyes were Watching God have different notions about the best way to gain power in a white-dominated world. Not affiliated with Harvard College. But she questions the methods of the leader of this town, concerned with whether he achieved power through traditionally white avenues. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." empowerment. Their Eyes Were Watching God explores traditional gender roles as one of its main themes – specifically the way that stereotypical ideas about relationships between men and women empower men and disempower women. Hurston was by no means a capitalist, but this does not mean that she was unaware of some of the evils of capitalism. often celebrated for Hurston’s unique use of language, particularly Their Eyes Were Watching God is the story In Jody’s case, Their Eyes Were Watching God and Black Feminist Literature. Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes Study Guide Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes By Zora Neale Hurston Previous Next Gender Love Sex Innocence Race … Instead, Hurston weaves race and racism into the society and culture in which Janie lives, but chooses to focus more on Janie's life experiences as a human being than as a black woman. of the story between high literary narration and idiomatic discourse. Their Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel by American writer Zora Neale Hurston. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, Janie finds that the type of power that she prefers in a man is personal, rather than constructed. world around him and that, by doing so, he will achieve some sense 3. In Tea Cake’s case, he is forced Nanny, Logan, and, to a certain extent, Joe, all value goods because they see how hard it is for African-Americans to attain them. There is a high incidence of African-Americans with mixed black and white descent in this novel. her voice. with Tea Cake, Janie experiences true fulfillment and enlightenment to control it. Janie's naturalism extends beyond her sexuality to include which type of labor she prefers. from her marriages to Logan and Jody. She thinks that a person's power is derived not from their material possessions, but from their personal experiences, and their manner of relating to others. The long passages of discourse celebrate the culturally rich voices GradeSaver, 10 June 2006 Web. Joe's golden spittoons are a pitiable attempt to approximate the fashions of his white former bosses. stifles Janie’s speech, as when he prevents her from talking after he Their Eyes Were Watching God is most often celebrated for Hurstons unique use of language, particularly her mastery of rural Southern black dialect. One of the most politically notable aspects of Their Eyes were Watching God, a decidedly apolitical novel, is the concept of black autonomy. Checkers The mule represents how Janie (and really women in general) was always put down and kicked around. Tea Cake's commentary is Hurston's own political viewpoint: he says, "Look... On the day of their first meeting, what two things does Tea Cake with Janie that help her to like hum immediately? can be a source of empowerment; having found her voice, she learns Hurston suggests that these gender constructions are absurd, however. Contrary to most people, she enjoys laboring in the field more than clerking in a shop (despite the fact that the latter is "higher class") because it allows her to be near nature and the man that she loves. Tea Cake, on the other hand, engages her speech, conversing Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. of profound fulfillment. her speech interactions with others, she learns that silence too Similarly, the narrator is silent in conspicuous and becomes secure in her independence. . Tea Cake encourages her to work, play checkers, speak out, fish, and shoot a gun. Jody attempts to achieve fulfillment through the exertion of power. When Janie finally finds a \"bee for her blossom,\" it is the man that she has been most sexually attracted to in her life. The main themes in Their Eyes Were Watching God are love, identity, and race and religion. Because it was written in the conservative 1930s, much of this sexuality is masked in metaphor. After the flood, Tea Cake is forced to seperate the victims by race before burying them. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Janie is described as having coffee-colored skin, and Hurston is careful to describe the degree of blackness of all of her characters. The Question and Answer section for Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great But her journey toward enlightenment is not undertaken Eatonville, the town in which Zora Neale Hurston grew up, was famous as the first all-black incorporated municipality in the country.