How Janie Develops Her Ideas of Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Throughout the book Janie struggles to find the true definition of love and how to make herself happy with her relationships. She goes through several different ideas of love before finding that it is mutual compassion, understanding, and respect that makes her the most happy. Near the beginning of the book, Janie develops an idealistic view of love whilst lying underneath a pear tree. She is young and naïve, enthralled with the beauty of spring. She comes to the conclusion that marriage is the ultimate expression of love and finds herself pondering why she does not have a partner. In the rashness of her hormone clouded brain, she is drawn to Johnny Taylor, who is nearly a stranger. This is her first experience formulating ideas about love and marriage. The pear tree becomes a representation of this hopeful and young idea of love. page 11- “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage!” However, her previous ideas are shattered due to her marriage to Logan Killicks. She hopes and believes that, after marrying him, she will eventually grow to love him. Unfortunately, he is too rough with her and Janie never develops feelings for him. page 25- “The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.” The last phrase “so she became a woman” also points out that her first failed marriage has caused her to mature past the previous “pear tree” ideas. She is no longer naïve, and has been exposed to the world more so than before. Nanny instills the idea into Janie that love was not as important as having a life with a stable husband and income. She does not want to see Janie in the same position that she...
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