March 8th, 2013
Love and Equality
The struggle for women’s rights dates as far back as the 1820s, approximately one hundred years before the time setting of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Women eventually acquire the right to vote in 1919, but still face the issues of oppression and inferiority to men. In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie searches for true love and equality. She faces conflicts along the way, but her third marriage to Tea Cake gives her what she desires. In both of her failed relationships where she thought love blossomed, loveless marriages are the only outcome. When she finally meets Tea Cake, who treats her like an equal, a horrible event occurs which quickly ends their relationship. The novel personifies that seeking a fruitful and love filled relationship is nearly impossible to find. When the novel begins, Janie is young, naïve, and marriage is something far from being on her mind. It is only after her Nanny sees her kissing Johnny Taylor that the subject of marriage is brought up. Janie simply states “That was the end of her childhood.” (12) Nanny assumes that Janie is ready and wants to marry, and informs her that Logan Killicks is looking for a bride. Much to Janie’s dismay, an arrangement for them to marry is made. Before she goes off to live with Logan, she fiercely contemplates the meaning of love and marriage. “Janie had no chance to know things, so she had to ask. Did marriage end the cosmic loneliness of the unmated? Did marriage compel like the sun the day?” (21) She then concludes to herself that when she marries Logan, they will fall in love. Janie is soothed by the idea, and is no longer as indifferent as she was to marrying Logan. In a short amount of time, Janie’s conclusion is proven wrong, and she realizes that marriage does not make love. Logan and Janie’s vast age difference, the way he treats her and the awkward feelings between them make their...