In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie, the heroine, represents some aspects of feminism when she takes it upon herself to become liberated from each of her three domineering romantic relationships.
Janie’s first husband, Logan Killicks, treats Janie as more of a prized possession to be obtained than as a wife or companion. For example, Logan goes to Lake City to buy a second mule that Janie can plow behind in the potato field because potatoes are “bringin’ big prices” (Hurston 36). To Logan, Janie is a means of increasing his profits, and her value in lies in the work she can do, not the love she can provide him. Later, Logan makes sure Janie understands her role in their relationship. He demands her to “come help me move dis manure pile befo’ de sun gits hot” (41), and when Janie refuses, Logan expresses that it is not her place to refuse, that she “aint’ got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh” (42). Janie draws the line at this treatment from Logan, and has to choose whether to escape her controlling marriage or become her husband’s “mule” for the rest of her life. Janie recognizes that the marriage means nothing to Logan other than a financial arrangement, someone to work on his sixty acres of land. She chooses to leave him, after letting him know “you ain’t done me no favor by marryin’ me” (42). She refuses to be like a slave to Logan, taking it upon herself to change her destiny. In accepting that destiny as her own responsibility, Janie becomes a feminist woman. She has no problem standing up to Logan and letting him have a piece of her mind, despite his threats of violence against her.
To escape Logan’s oppressive grasp, Janie elopes with Joe, who “didn’t make many speeches with rhymes to her, but he bought her the best things the butcher had” (45). Janie’s relationship with Joe, at the start, is dramatically different from the one she had with Logan. Before she ran off with him, Joe stated,...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document