While Janie and Blanche have their similarities, they are also very different. Blanche is born white and affluent; Janie is born black and poor. Blanche grows up on an old plantation in Mississippi, and Janie is raised in Florida by her grandmother, who has a house in the backyard of a white family she works for. Janie is brought up with their children; in fact, until she sees a picture of herself standing next to them, Janie does not realize she is black. While Janie eventually learns to not care about what people think of her and become self-sufficient, Blanche is always depending on others. She relies on Stella to take care of her. When Stanley threatens to send Blanche away, she quickly begins a relationship with Mitch, hoping to secure her future by marrying him. However, this is unsuccessful: Blanche eventually goes insane after she is raped by Stanley, and is sent to an asylum in the country. In contrast, Janie gets everything she wants out of life: sexual love and adventure. Tea Cake provides for her sexually and allows her to be the person she wants to be, unlike her previous two husbands, who each had their own ideas as to how she should act and live out her life. When Pheoby attempts to dissuade her from seeing Tea Cake, she tells her “Ah done lived Grandma’s way, now Ah mean tuh live mine” (Hurston 114). Janie has been living the life her grandmother planned out for her, but she is unhappy, so she has decided to start over and go her own way. Janie is the better feminist protagonist for her time period; unlike Blanche, she makes choices based on her own beliefs and desires rather than worrying about how those around her may perceive her.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston uses vivid imagery and metaphors paired with a unique dialect in order to paint a colorful picture of black life in West Florida during the 1930s. The more “literate” language of the narrator paired with the “uneducated” way of speaking in the dialogue creates a...
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