Janie Crawford

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Shelbee Elkins
Mrs. Hoke
English 1302
25 April 2010
Trials and Tribulations of Janie Crawford
Janie Crawford would be considered a woman who has been through many trials and tribulations in her young life. She is a woman of strength, confidence and experience with all of the many things she has gone through in her life, such a death. She has had three different husbands, and her second husband Jody Starks becomes very ill and dies. Finally, there is Tea Cake, whom she deeply cares for, but treats her poorly in such a way as to control Janie. She is used to the fact of death and everything that comes with it, and has a need to break out and become an independent woman. In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neal Hurston uses symbols to portray the antagonist in the story, Janie Crawford. As all of the trials and tribulations she goes through in her young life, there are many objects found in the novel that can portray meaning and symbolism in Janie Crawford’s life. In Zora Neal Hurston’s novel, Janie Crawford is absolutely fascinated with nature and Hurston uses symbols such as the pear tree, the horizon, and the hurricane to represent a large part in Janie’s life. The peach tree is a symbol representing Janie in the story, because it represents Janie’s idealism of nature and her interest in it. She absolutely loves this pear tree and she goes to this tree as a place to get away from everything going on in her life, and she finds and tranquility here. For example, Janie explains how she feels when she goes to this place, “Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think. Ah...”(Hurston, 23). She sees how the bees interact with the pear tree plants and sees how perfect nature can be and she want to find that harmony with nature. The horizon would be considered a symbol in the novel because it represents Janie’s longing to understand with the mystery of the far-off world and harmony of nature. Hurston explains, “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” (Hurston 12). As said earlier, Janie is longing and striving to connect with nature and everything about it, because it brings so much peace and joy in her life. When she is enjoying this peacefulness with God’s creation, all of her troubles temporarily disappear. Janie views this horizon at the end of the novel; she finally has come to the conclusion that she achieved that feeling of harmony with nature as she has been longing for. The hurricane will represent the chaotic lifestyle Janie goes through with the trials and the death of her husband Jody Starks, and the constant chaos she goes through with her newest husband Tea Cake. The hurricane would be considered the opposite of the horizon or the peach tree that she enjoys. This hurricane represents how she has gone through so much chaos in her life with her husbands, and she does not see this as a positive thing going for her in her life. She often wonders how they will survive in a world full of chaos, just like the hurricane. Therefore, with this mindset, this is the result of Janie looking to nature as something that can comfort her in her needless to say chaotic life. Janie explains, how she truly feels about the world around her, “Listen, Sam, if it was nature, nobody wouldn’t have tuh look out for babies touchin’ stoves, would they? ’Cause dey just naturally wouldn’t touch it. But dey sho will. So it’s caution.” “Naw it ain’t, it’s nature, cause nature makes caution. It’s de strongest thing dat God ever made, now. Fact is it’s de onliest thing God every made. He made nature and nature made everything else” (Hurston 64). Janie truly has a love for something so pure and peaceful, and it helps her out in times of hardship. These symbols in the story referring to nature are portraying...
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