In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Lora Neale Hurston, the main character engages in three marriages that lead her towards a development of self. Through each endeavor, Janie learns the truths of life, love, and the path to finding her identity. Though suppressed because of her race and gender, Janie has a strong will to live her life the way she wills. But throughout her life, she encounters many people who attempt to change the way that she is and her beliefs. Each marriage that she undertakes, she finds a new realization and is on a never-ending quest to find her identity and true love. Logan Killicks, Joe Starks, and Tea Cake each help Janie progress to womanhood and find her identity.
At age sixteen, Janie is a beautiful young girl who is about to enter womanhood and experience the real world. Being joyous and unconcerned, she is thrown into an arranged marriage with Logan Killicks. He is apparently unromantic and unattractive. Logan is a widower and a successful farmer who desires a wife who would not have her own opinions. He is set on his own ways and is troubled by Janie, who forms her own opinions and refuses to work. He is unable to sexually appeal or satisfy Janie and therefore does not truly connect with her as husband and wife should. Janie's wild and young spirit is trapped within her and she plays the role of a silent and obeying wife. But her true identity cannot withhold itself for she has ambitions and she wills to see the world and find love. There was a lack of trust and communication between Logan and Janie. Because of the negative feelings Janie has towards Logan, she deems that this marriage is not what she desires it to be. The pear tree and the bees had a natural attraction and sexual experience unlike her relationship with Logan and so Janie realizes that he is not for her. So one day she meets Joe Starks and after spending some time together, Janie asks Logan what he would do if she ran away....
Cited: Hurston, Lora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1990.
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