The novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” written by Zora Neale Hurston is praised as one of the greatest works of American literature due to the outstanding use of figurative language and presentation of such controversial topics. Such as women empowerment and the true nature of relationships. The main character, Janie is heavily influenced by the people around her, and due to such actions, she is unable to reach her dreams, or her horizon. In TEWWG, two characters in particular, her grandmother, Nanny, and Joe Starks manipulate Janie by abusing their power and positions of authority and respect. Through manipulation, Hurston implies that one must face adversity and struggle through darker paths to truly reach their own horizon.
Janie’s life, like many others, is heavily influenced by her family. Her only blood related relative, Nanny, manipulates Janie by forcing her perspective of the world upon Janie. In the early days of Janie’s youth, she saw love and marriage as natural and beautiful. Janie’s mind wandered to the idea of love and marriage, and in the spur of the moment, kissed a boy. Nanny saw this and became furious. She rushed out and made Janie promise to never do that again. Nanny even slapped Janie out of rage. When Nanny finally calmed down, she explained to Janie her misfortunes with men. Telling Janie about how her and Janie’s mother were abused by white men, Nanny planted the seed of doubt in Janie’s head. Letting it seep in slowly would be too slow. Nanny needed to force this ideal into Janie’s mind, whether she likes it or not. It is apparent when after Janie is married off Nanny says “Taint no use in you cryin’ Janie. Grandma does been long a few roads herself. But folks is meant to cry ‘bout something or other, Better leave things de way dey is. Youse young yet. No tellin’ whut mout happen befo’ you die. Wait awhile baby, you mind will change” (Hurston 24). Janie explained to her grandmother that she was dissatisfied with her marriage, and...
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