Analyitic Essay on Zora Neale Hurston’s Use of Symbolism in Their Eyes Were Watching God
English 3 Honors
Zora Neale Hurston has come to be regarded as an experienced writer in both African American literature and women 's literature, for her use of literary elements such as symbolism, motifs and imagery. One of Hurston’s most celebrated novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which she uses many examples of symbolism such as the mule, Janie’s hair, and the pear tree to illustrate to the readers the many trials of which her characters overcome. Zora Neale Hurston utilizes symbolism in Their Eyes Were Watching God to portray Janie Crawford as a character who realizes that, through hard work and perseverance, one may find out who he or she really is on the inside rather than the imperfections on the outside. In the beginning of Their Eyes, Hurston cleverly uses a pear tree as one of her many uses of symbolism. Janie discovers this pear tree after she runs away from her grandma after she gave Janie the news of her marrying Logan Killicks. Janie makes a realization about the tree when she lies beneath it,“She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister- calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage!”(Hurston 11). Hurston, being an anthropologist understood the relationship between bees and pear trees thus making the comparison relevant to Janie’s experiences throughout her journey. Lisa 2
As Keiko Dilbeck says in his critical essay in the second paragraph, “Attuned to the Connection between man and woman, Janie desperately wants the love and affection from a man that the tree receives from the
Cited: Ashmawi, Yvonne. "Janie 's Teacake: sinner, saint, or merely mortal?(Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God)(Critical essay)." Heldref Publications 1.1 (2009): 1-3. Web. 1 Mar 2011 Dilbeck, Keiko. "Symbolic representation of identity in Hurston 's Their Eyes Were Watching God.(Zora Neale Hurston)(Critical essay)." Heldref Publications (2008): 1-3. 1 mar 2011. Database. 26 Mar 2011. Haurykiewicz, Julie. "From mules to muliebrity: speech and silence in Their Eyes Were Watching God.(Zora Neale Hurston)." University of North Carolina Press 1.1 (1997): 1-11. Web. 1 Mar 2011.. Hurston, Zora. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, inc., 1937. 193. EBook.