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March 17th, 2013
Their Eyes Were Watching God Paper

Throughout the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God will focus on the identity and relationships of Janie and other main characters within the novel. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God Hurston demonstrates what constitutes is acceptable behavior during their time-period. Nanny, Janie, Logan, and Jody are prime examples of what is, and is not acceptable during this era. They show their power, their longing for traditional roles, and Janie decides to go her own way and switches up the roles of how women are supposed to act. Deconstructionism focuses on the text and how there can be more than one meaning. New Historicism focuses on the history behind the text. Her relationship with others and herself go hand and hand with Deconstructionism and New Historicism. Deconstructionism is a philosophical theory of criticism which seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by getting underneath the surface (Google 1). In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God Janie’s ideal future and love life totally contradicts Nanny’s, but since she respected Nanny she went along with her until she could not take it anymore. Janie was different because she did not want to live by their rules and wanted to take risks. Nanny tells Janie, “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin’ fuh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!” (Hurston 14). This quote is talking about how women are given the burdens that no one else is willing to carry, and she wants things to be different for Janie. She does not want Janie to live that kind of life. Nanny knows the hardships that women face and wants to Janie by all means to avoid that in life. The definition of a mule is the offspring of a donkey and a horse, usually sterile and used as a beast of burden (Merriam-Webster 1). This relates to Deconstructionism because it shows the deeper meaning of what Nanny meant by saying that women are the...
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