Love in the Horizon
Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, portrays life as a search for love, freedom, and individual identity. In this novel, we see the characters mature emotionally through their many obstacles in life. People spend their whole lives looking for someone to love, when they must first learn to love themselves.
If different variables can influence someone, then clothing is definitely one of these variables in this novel. With each marriage Janie goes through, the clothing that she wears is important in conveying the relationship of the marriage. In each instance, Hurston uses Janie's clothing to show the search for true love, and the influence of the things that surround her. The clothing either binds Janie, or sets her free.
As a young woman of sixteen, Janie enters her first marriage with Logan Killicks. She " went on inside to wait for love to begin," (22) hoping that this marriage means love will form.
However, quickly into the marriage Janie realizes that marriage does not directly yield love. This life which starts with "no cushion on the seat" continues to crush Janie's dreams of love. Still a newlywed, Janie knows "...marriage did not make love" (25). The apron, tied around her waist restrains Janie, and halts her emotional growth.
Still looking for love, Janie quickly falls for Joe Starks, a man with ambition. Feeling the apron which still holds her, "She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on" (32). This symbolizes her release from her first marriage. She unties this burden, leaves it behind her, and goes on in search of her next love, Joe Starks. Directly following their marriage ceremony, Hurston depicts Janie and Joe sitting on a "house porch [and] watching the...