Their Eyes Were Watching God: Janie's Great Identity Search

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Their Eyes Were Watching God: Janie's Great Identity Search

In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, there are many lessons on a person's search for identity. Janie's search for identity throughout this book is very visible. It has to do with her search for a name, and freedom for herself. As she goes through life her search takes many turns for the worse and a few for the better, but in the end she finds her true identity. Through her marriages with Logan, Joe, then Tea Cake she figures out what is for her and how she wants to live. So in the end, she is where she wants to be.

In Janie's early life she lived with her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny and Janie were pretty well off and had the privilege to live in the yard of white folks. While Janie was growing up she played with the white children. While she was in this stage, she was faced with much criticism and was called many names, so many that everyone started calling her alphabet, "'cause so many people had done named me different names." Soon she started piecing together what she knew of her odd identity. Then one day she saw herself in a photograph and noticed that she looked different, that she had dark skin, and she said, "before Ah seen de picture Ah thought Ah wuz just like de rest." From this point, Janie fell into somewhat of a downward spiral, setting her off of the path toward finding her own identity in society. Finally when she was older Nanny saw her doing somethings under the pear tree that she thought were unacceptable. Nanny quickly arranged a marriage between Janie and a well-off local man, Logan Killicks. In this marriage Janie resisted. She felt as if she was losing her freedom was well as her identity, she wasn't Janie anymore she was now Mrs. Logan Killicks, and she was somewhat obligated to do what he wanted. Not long into this marriage, Janie has had enough, and when the chance to go away with a smooth, romantic man, she takes the chance....
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