Search for Identity in Their Eyes Were Watching God

Essay by thekingandqueen December 2008

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie searches for her true identity, while subconsciously knowing what she wanted all along. Through her marriages with Logan, Joe, then Tea Cake she figures out what is for her and how she wants to live. As she sits under the pear tree, Janie witnesses her ideal in nature. This comparison of life to a pear tree in bloom is Janie's way of saying she wanted to experience the good part of life; the bloom. She most especially wanted to let her own personality bloom and to be able to live and act the way she desired to. Zora Neale Hurston begins the novel with Janie dreaming of a distant ideal and tranquility; however, there are many stages full of obstacles that awaits her before she can reach her dreams. At this point, she is drawn to the pear tree, but does not truly understand that her admiration of it parallels to what she wants out of life.

While Janie was growing up, she was called many names, so many that everyone started calling her alphabet, ''cause so many people had done named me different names.' Soon she started piecing together what she knew of her odd identity. Then one day she saw herself in a photograph and realized she was black, unlike the rest. From this point, Janie fell into somewhat of a downward spiral, setting her off of the path toward finding her own identity in society. For Nanny, relationships are a matter of pragmatism: Logan is her idea of the ideal husband because he offers shelter and physical security. Logan makes comments such as, "me myself done spoilt yuh now", and, " If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuh yuh, look lak you oughta be able...