Their Eyes Were Watching God Critical Lens

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Critical Lens Essay

According to Bernadette Devlin, “To gain which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else.” In simpler terms,if one wants to acheive something that means a lot to them, they might just have to lose everything else they have. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, this quote rings true. Hurston shows that by using symbolism and a bit of irony throughout the story.

As a young woman, Janie wanted love, true love. In the beginning of the novel and Janie's journey, she is under a blossoming pear tree where she spends most of her days. She is watching the bees fly to the blossoms, when she has an epiphany. “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 (11).” This is Janie’s idea of marriage. She believes that the sensation she felt is marriage and this is the feeling that she wants. She also believes that with marriage comes love and Janie looks forward to this feeling to come with marriage. This blossoming pear tree represents love and mentioned again later on in the novel. Soon Janie marries a man, named Logan Killicks, that her grandmother, Nanny, set her up with. A few days into the marriage, she confronts Nanny. “But Nanny, Ah wants to want him sometimes. Ah don’t want to do all de wantin’ (23). ” Here Janie realizes that the feeling she’s been expecting to feel with Logan isn’t there, therefore there is no love. At this point in the novel, Zora Neale Hurston is illuminating what it is that Janie wants.

After her revelation at the pear tree, Janie begins her her quest to find love and that feeling that comes with it, but in the process loses her agency. Still in the beginning of the book, Nanny has just told Janie of her plans for her to marry Logan and a few days before the ceremony, Janie is convincing herself that Nanny is right. It states, “Yes she would come to love Logan after they were married. She...
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