One of the most fascinating and unique novels in African American literature is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, not so much for it’s story but for it’s beautifully written language. The novel is about the main character, Janie, trying to find herself and the meaning of love. Both Standard English and a southern black dialect, and poetry are seamlessly integrated into the story which reveals symbols and hidden meanings.
"She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from the root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid."(writes Hurston, 10).
This quote shows how young Janie came to the realization of her sexuality as she masturbated under a pear tree. The pear tree represented her sexual desires. Janie soon found herself fond of the opposite sex, as explained by the following quote: “Through pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road. In her former blindness she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and eyes.”(11).
However, Janie felt confined under her grandma’s beliefs. “Where were the singing bees for her? Nothing on the place nor in her grandma’s house answered her,” she feels (11). Janie could not find answers of sexuality in her grandma’s house as her grandma had very different views.
Soon, Janie’s grandma married Janie to Logan... [continues]
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