Their Eyes Were Watching God Symbol - Essay

1073 words - 5 pages

A symbol is an object, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In literary works, a symbol can express an idea, clarify meaning, or enlarge literal meaning.

Focusing on one symbol in Their Eyes Were Watching God, write an essay analyzing how that symbol functions in the work and what it reveals about the characters or themes of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.
Throughout history, society tends to reason out and resolve things that are mysterious, unknown, and confusing utilizing religion. The novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, alludes to an overwhelming amount of symbolism of this throughout nature. The most prolific symbol is presented through the character Janie herself. Janie compares her life ultimately to elements of transcendentalism such as through nature and self-truth as the factor that guides her monumentally on her life's pathway.

Janie, a young girl, at the start of the novel who grew up in a poor family with her grandmother, was constantly defying society's expectations for a woman, whether it be through her thoughts or actions. Initially, Nanny, Janie's grandmother, believes that a woman's future must be secure and in turn, she controls Janie very tightly. Nanny has a wish for Janie that she will land on soft ground unlike her so Jaine could avoid the same harsh and cruel past. She hopes that Janie's future will be one of prosperity and security. Janie willingly listens to her grandmother when she arranges Janie's marriage to Logan Killicks. For this reason, Janie subsequently loses any hope for the love that she shared with the pear tree due to the fact that she isn't receiving not reciprocating love from Logan. In addition, the fact that Janie had wished to find love and not have it chosen for her. Janie personifies the pear tree in nature not just through her hopes and wishes but rather her idealistic view of the surrounding nature. Janie's relation to the pear tree is one that portrays how she is merely a small figure in the larger world around her, and she finds solace in the hopes of one day attaining a love such as the one she shares with the pear tree. Ultimately, Janie finds her faith and will in nature that is all around her.

During the novel, Janie lacks actualization with her second marriage to Joe Starks. Janie throughout the entirety of the novel has purposely ignored the inclinations that she had felt in the hope that it is wrong and that she will receive the love that she has always dreamed of. Before Janie and Joe had gotten married Janie had felt as though she did not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, but he spoke for the far horizon. He spoke for change and chance. Janie goes against the idea of transcendentalism and does not listen to the signs that God has shown her and is ignoring them simply because she is blinded by the love that she desperately desires. Instead, Janie says that Joe is ...

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