The Nature of Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God Essay Example
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston explored the ambiguous nature of love through writing about Janie Crawford’s experience. Janie’s desire for men began in chapter two while sitting under a blooming pear tree with “kissing bees singing”. Her views shifted from pure to full of lust as her envious feelings grew. Throughout the book, she encountered many obstacles to obtain the love that she had always wanted. Janie learned that love and respect have to be reciprocated in order for a relationship to flourish through Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake.
Janie began her journey of discovering true love by marrying Logan. Nanny herself thought that marrying Janie off to Logan would be most beneficial for her wellbeing. Staggered by the idea, Janie asked herself, “Did marriage compel love like the sun the day?”(Hurston 21). She questioned if marriage could really be the way to find love like Nanny had said (21). After the wedding, Janie went to Nanny a few days later and complained, “But Nanny, Ah wants to want him sometimes. Ah don’t want him to do all de wantin”(23). He was the complete opposite of her ideal man for she saw him as a weak and futile man. Logan yearned for Janie’s heart, but Janie simply could not return those feelings.
As an escape from her inability to love Logan, Janie met a fellow named Joe Starks. Compared to Logan, Joe was younger and more charismatic. She was swooned by the idea that Joe would make a “woman” out. Therefore, they leave together for Eatonville and get married. Janie’s belief of Joe being her true love was first shattered when Joe didn’t allow her to make a speech. Joe states, “... She’s uh woman and her place is in de home”( 43). Janie, as a woman who never saw herself as an inferior being, realizes that Joe’s idea of being a woman was angled towards being a trophy wife.
As years passed by, Janie put up with hiding her potential and beauty in order for her marriage with Joe to function. Even though they loved each other, Joe did not respect what Janie wanted and only allowed her to do what he desired. That, in the end, was not the relationship that Janie wanted. Janie finally discloses all the anger she pent up inside on his deathbed by saying, “All dis bowin’ down, all dis obedience under yo’ voice-dat ain’t whut Ah rushed off down de road tuh find out about you”(87). She vocalized how much she disliked the way he treated her and felt accomplished afterwards. Janie realizes that love was not merely enough for their relationship since Joe did not respect her.
With the death of Joe, she stopped feeling the need to search for true love. She met the man of her dreams, Tea Cake, when she least expected it. Tea Cake caught her by surprise when he asked her, “How about plain’ you some checkers? You looks hard tuh beat”(95). She was stunned by the idea that a man would treat her as his equal because she was suppressed in her earlier relationships. Her relationship with Tea Cake continued to blossom as they both adored and recognized each other’s needs. Even though he wasn’t capable of giving her a lavish life that other men offered her, he gave her his love and so did she. Even in the middle of a life and death situation, Janie says to Tea Cake, “If you kin see the light at daybreak, you don’t keer if you die at dusk”(159). She’s reached her horizon and she found her true love. It is apparent that she feels as though she has lived a full life with Tea Cake.