The Transformation of Janie

Essay by flamiejamieHigh School, 12th gradeA-, September 2008

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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is the story of a woman’s search for identity and reality. The narrative follows Janie, a creative and unique African-American, as she gains knowledge and self awareness from the relationships in her life. These relationships bring her pain but the pain leads to self-discovery and she is transformed from a powerless, weak child to an empowered, confident woman.

Janie’s marriage to a wealthy man named Logan is the first relationship that brings her grief and heartache. As a child, Janie is taught that financial security and respectability are values greater than that of love. Thus, she chooses Logan, who shows his love only through his check book. Janie begins this relationship as a naive teenager, who believes she can make herself love someone whom she had no previous attraction for. Logan treats her in a humiliating way, expecting her to do painstaking labour out in the fields, and giving her little or no love at all.

While trying to conform to the perfect housewife, Janie soon realizes that she is unhappy and powerless in the relationship, and decides to defend herself and leave him. At one point in the novel she tells Logan that he has done nothing good for her by marrying her. Janie expresses her heart-felt anger and breaks free from this degrading relationship. Janie comes to realize the power of love and that there needs to be love in a relationship to make it function. "Familiar people and things had failed her... She knew now that marriage didn't make love. Janie's first dream was dead so she became a woman." (25).

With a new understanding of love and the need for an emotional love, Janie runs into the arms of a handsome and ambitious go-getter named Jody. Janie...