In Their Eyes Were Watching God, natural events guide JanieÃÂs emotional development. As a child, Janie holds a naive ideal of love, untainted by experience. The splendor of the scene in the pear tree seems almost divine. It inspires her childish outlook on love. Later, the chaos and mindless destruction of the hurricane terrify Janie and undermine her romanticism. Tea CakeÃÂs affliction with rabies removes JanieÃÂs last illusions, but leaves her with a new realism about the challenges of the world and her own ability to negotiate those challenges and survive.
Nanny provides a counterpoint to JanieÃÂs early perspective on love and relationships. For Nanny, relationships are a matter of pragmatism: Logan is her idea of the ideal husband because he offers shelter and physical security in a world filled with poverty, hardship, and no chance for material advancement. Janie, however, wants something different. She doesnÃÂt want a provider, but rather a perfect union, where the male and female complement one another.
As she sits under the pear tree, Janie witnesses her ideal in nature. She sees, ÃÂa dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom[,] the thousand sister-calyxes [arching] to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the treeÃÂ frothing with delightÃÂ (11). HurstonÃÂs fervent prose vividly captures JanieÃÂs fervent imagination. In JanieÃÂs mind, the bee and the pear tree give one another life, in a perfect symbiosis. Falling ÃÂlimp and languid,ÃÂ she exclaims, ÃÂSo this was a marriage.ÃÂ (11). Janie imagines that her own marriage will be as wonderful as the marriage of the bee and the pear tree. She dreams of a world full of wild beauty and passionate fulfillment and she chases after it.
Whereas the pear tree stands for natureÃÂs beauty and passion, the hurricane teaches Janie how unpredictable and...