Their Eyes Were Watching God is a story about one woman’s search for independence and true love. Metaphorically, the phrase, their eyes were watching God mean the creation of a new form of humanity--one that is no longer based on the master-slave dialectic. (Curren, African American Review) When Janie Crawford was only 16 years old, she believed that she could find true love on her own. Janie Crawford believed true love was all about each partner having equal love for each other. Janie experienced sensual pleasures she wanted to experience in her life the day she witnessed a bee pollinating a peer tree. Zora Neale Hurston uses the pear tree in this novel to indicate a symbol of love.
John Laudun says “ this character of Hurston’s work explores an important dimension of the nature of identity and community and the relationship between the two, a dimension highlighted in the in the growing body of scholarship on the nature of dialogue and the dialogic nature of subjectivity. (Laudun, African American Review)
Janie is enclosed by a couple of loveless marriages, because she was not able to express those sensual pleasures, and find her true love. Janie’s grandmother believed that a woman should marry a man for financial security, then love would come later on. So therefore, Janie’s grandmother wouldn’t allow her to fall in love with just any one. This made Janie grow furious of her grandmother. She didn’t like the lifestyle her grandmother wanted her to love. Janie’s first marriage was under the influence of her grandmother. She was married to a greatly older man by the name of Logan Killicks. Killicks showers Janie in fine things for a long time before he ask her to work on his farm. Janie then felt like she was being used, but most importantly un loved. She then leaves Logan Killicks for a man by the name of Joe “Jody” Starks. Jody, Joe’s nickname, started out to be a very sweet man, but then it later took a turn for the worst. Joe then passes away, and Janie gets married to a new man. This new man is Vergible Woods, better known as Tea Cake. This point in Janie’s life is what she has been searching for, or the horizon. Hurston uses the horizon as a symbol of a place that is far out, and this is where most people try to make it in their life. The novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a story of one woman’s growth as a person physically, emotionally, and intellectually while on a journey for life fulfillment.
The novel follows Janie through her three marriages, but most importantly, the main theme is Janie’s quest for herself. “As Janie develops in the novel, she experiences the oppressive power of those who name her, the growing potential of being renamed, and finally the freeing experience of being unnamed. (King, Black American Literature Forum) Out of the three marriages Janie was involved in, her second marriage effected her physically more than any other. Janie’s second marriage was to a controlling man by the name of Joe Starks, who...