Domestic Violence in Zora Neale Hurston’s their Eyes were Watching God

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie faces obstacles throughout her life and ultimately learns to grow from them. Hurston portrays love, dominance, independence, discrimination, and abuse in her novel. Hurston uses domestic abuse story. During the 20’s women were not treated fairly nor with respect. Janie’s first marriage to Logan Killicks was arranged by Janie’s grandmother who valued financial security and respectability. In Janies marriage, Logan treated her with love and respect for about a year until he decides to force Janie to help him with the farm.

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Feeling as if she was unloved and used made her stand up for herself and leave Logan.

Janie’s second marriage was to a politician and business man named Jody Starks. Jody is full of ambition and strives to become someone important, however, their marriage did not last, Janie felt like she was being used as an object instead of being treated with respect. She eventually meets TeaCake, who is much younger than Janie and impresses her with his charisma and his interest in living life to the fullest. TeaCake was different. He let Janie speak and be herself. Unlike Logan and Jody, he helped her strive for her goals and most importantly, understand herself . Hurston uses imagery to describe Janies experiences with abuse in her life including inequality and discrimination towards colored people and women. What readers may not know is abuse comes in many forms, it may be physical, verbal, or emotional. Domestic abuse corrupts TeaCake and Janie’s relationship.

TeaCake pushes her around a few times while he became insecure and possessive in their relationship. Hurston uses many eye-opening situations that not many people are aware of in todays society. Abuse comes in all forms as in the novel, from Janie’s grandmother forcing Janie to marry Logan, discrimination and inequality for women to be free of doing what they want. Hurston uses speech to invoke Janie’s enlightenment and to keep her from being silent for years and finding her voice within herself. Hurston also uses Janie as an abuser and a hero when she stood up for herself and shot TeaCake in the end. Hurston places Janie on a pedi stool and empowers her to speak up. Her quest to find the horizon she always dreamed of is finally clear and becomes independent.

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Domestic Violence in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved from