25 November 2014
The Broken Family Cycle “Like father, like son; like mother, like daughter,” right? Well in this case it’s surprisingly not. In the 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie Crawford, raised by her grandmother, does not follow the family cycle of getting violently raped by a white man and having a child at a young age. Family cycles are scientifically proven, stating that patterns in previous generations will most likely continue in the following generation, unless somehow prevented. Nanny, who dearly cares for Janie, is beyond protective, only because she fears for her granddaughter’s safety. In Hurston’s novel, Nanny did not have good experiences with white men. She was born into slavery and was overpowered by her master, raping her. Giving birth to a light-skinned child caused havoc. The master’s wife planned to whip Nanny, so she decided to run away and hide in the swamps with her daughter. In later years, Leafy is also raped by a white man, a school teacher. After witnessing disrespect, abuse, and rape of black women, Nanny doesn’t want to risk that happening to Janie as well. Nanny tells Janie the truth about the harsh world without sugar coating it. Nanny had every reason to be worried for Janie’s safety after being mistreated most of her life. Because of this she forbids Janie to seek love of her own and marries her off to old Logan Killicks. ”Tain’t Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, it’s protection” (Hurston 14).
“Maybe it 's some place way off in de ocean where de black man is in power, but we don 't know nothin ' but what we see. So de white man thrown 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. Ad been prayin ' duh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!” (Hurston 14). Nanny compares negro women to
Cited: Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print. Kesler, Jennifer. "Why Don’t Women Just Leave Abusers?" The Hathor Legacy. N.p., 23 Nov. 2010 Trinh, Minh H. Inheriting Psychological Trauma in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Thesis. Lehigh University, 2006