In the novel Their Eyes were watching God Zora Neale Hurston
portrays a woman named Janie's search for love and freedom.
Janie, throughout the novel, bounces through three different
marriages, with a brief stint at being a widow in between.
Throughout these episodes, Hurston uses Janie`s clothing as a
visual bookmark of where Janie is in her search for true love
and how she is being influenced by those around her.
Janie's first article of clothing is an apron that she wears
while married to Logan Killiks as a hard working sixteen year
old. Logan, who Janie describes as looking like 'an `ol
skullhead in de grave yard,' (pg. 13) marries Janie to fulfill
the role laid down by Janie's grandmother, a mule. Janie goes
along with this for nearly a year, until change comes walking
down the road in the form of Joe Starks. Joe is a 'citified,
stylish man with a hat set at an angle that didn't belong in
those parts,' and he wants to take Janie away.
Joe's dream is to
become 'big man' and pleads Janie to take part in his dreams of
the future. He proposes marriage to her, and arranges a
rendezvous at the bottom of the road at sunup the next morning.
Janie is torn because Jody 'does not represent sun-up pollen and
blooming trees, but he spoke of the far horizon....The memory of
Nanny was still strong.' (pg. 28) When Janie decides to leave
the next morning for, if nothing else, a healthy change, she
looks down and sees the apron which has stood for all the things
she has had to do for Logan,' and flung it on a small bush
beside the road. Then she walked on, picking flowers and making
a bouquet.' (pg. 31) When Janie threw the...