Their Eyes Were Watching God

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Chapter 9 Response
In the passage from chapter 9 from the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the author uses diction, figurative language, and selection of detail to express Janie’s change to a self-promoting attitude compared to Nanny’s materialistic and dependant way of living life.

Jody’s funeral was a great event that everyone from doctors to farm people attended. Janie’s sadness did not show, if she had any at all, but she could not show the world that she was not affected by her husband’s death. Janie “starched and ironed” her face to show her mourning, while on the inside she feels relieved, free, and happy. Hurston uses rhetorical fragment in paragraph two to emphasize how quick Janie got over the death of her husband and she doesn’t have to be in the clutch of Joe “nevermore.” Janie let her face become a “wall of stone and steel” at Joe’s funeral but her mind and heart is “rollicking with the springtime”, feeling alive and free. When Janie returned home, she burned all of the hair rags Joe made her wear and tied her hair in a long braid that “[swings] well below her waist”, symbolizing her freedom and release from the clutches of her unhappy marriage. Janie is liberated and feels like she could do whatever she pleases for the rest of her life.

Along with feeling unbound and joyous, Janie is also angry with Nanny. With all of her free time, Janie contemplates about what she wants to do. Thoughts of tending her grandmother’s grave finds its way into her head. Then the mood abruptly changes, and Janie is irritated. Janie hates her grandmother and tried to hide it from herself “under a cloak of pity.” Janie felt bad for her grandmother and did what her grandmother pleased. Instead of searching for “people” on her “journey to the horizons”, she was forced to run after “things.” Janie felt that Nanny took the horizon, pinched it so small and “chocked” her with it, and that humans had no love towards one another, and this “mislove”...
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