Their Eyes Were Watching God: an Untraditional Happy Ending

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Michelle Sheehan
Professor Park
Multicultural American Literature
February 22, 2013
Their Eyes Were Watching God: An Untraditional Happy Ending
Their Eyes Were Watching God brings us on a journey through Janie’s life, focusing mainly on her three marriages. Throughout the majority of the novel, it seems as if Janie is in search of a man to fulfill her wants and needs in life. Towards the end of the book, when Tea Cake unexpectedly passes away, a whole new idea comes to fruition. Janie was not ever meant to find her happiness through a relationship; she needed to find it within herself, and embrace her independence. Janie’s return home to Eatonville, alone, is not the typical happy ending one would have expected. However, it is extremely significant to us because it shows that Janie has finally found her soul, the one thing she spent her entire life trying to discover.

In the very beginning of the novel, we are given a glimpse of Janie’s inner peace through a metaphor that relates Janie to a pear tree. She sees the tree in bloom, and is awestruck, “Oh to be a pear tree- any tree in bloom!” (11). This inner peace is what Janie spends the entirety of the story in search of. “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace… So this was a Marriage!” (11), here she associates human relationships to the act of the bees pollinating the pear tree. The blissful state she experiences under the pear tree is what she expects a perfect marriage to feel like. She is immediately inspired to seek out love, and here begins our journey through Janie’s three marriages as she searches for that magical self-fulfillment.

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie believes that a happy relationship is necessary to a fulfilling life; however, foreshadowing tells us that Janie will never find spiritual fulfillment through marriage. Under the pear tree, when she associates inner peace with relationships, she...
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