Their Eyes Were Watching God: Personal Relationships

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Zora Neale Hurston, in keeping with themes dealing with personal relationships and the female search for self-awareness in Their Eyes Were Watching God , has created a heroine in Janie Crawford. In fact, the female perspective is introduced immediately. "Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly" (Their Eyes 1).

On the very first page of Their Eyes Were Watching God, the contrast is made between men and women, thus initiating Janie's search for her own dreams and foreshadowing the "female quest" theme of the rest of the novel. "Detailing her quest for self-discovery and self-definition, it [Their Eyes] celebrates her [Janie] as an artist who enriches Eatonville by communicating her understanding" (Kubitschek 22).

Janie is a Black woman who asserts herself beyond expectation, with a persistence that characterizes her search for the love that she dreamed of as a girl. She understands the societal status that her life has handed her, yet she is determined to overcome this, and she is resentful toward anyone or anything that interferes with her quest for happiness. "So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see," opines Janie's grandmother in an attempt to justify the marriage that she has arranged for her granddaughter (Their Eyes 14). This excerpt establishes the existence of the inferior status of women in this society, a status which Janie must somehow overcome in order to emerge a heroine. This societal constraint does not deter Janie from attaining her dream. "She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman" (Their Eyes 24).

Janie is not afraid to defy the expectations that...
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