Janie Form their Eyes were Watching God
“Janie is the main character in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Largely because of her relationships with the three key men in her life, Janie is often beaten down and physically abused. However, these moments is where her strong personality get to shine. She is mistreated by Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake, but she comes out from each situation more prepared for the next with more self awareness. The times that she should be scared and frightened the most is when her strong personality comes out to show itself.
Janie marries Logan, which will be the first matrimony out of many, as an arranged marriage. Her grandma hopes that she will see that this is the type of man Janie should be spending time with. Janie is hiding her strong personality, as she would rather be under the influence of her grandma, who is deciding how she will live the rest of her life. Logan, a complicated man, wants to keep Janie under his supervision. He insists that she work in the fields alongside him, suffering the same pain that he endures to make Janie into a stronger woman as he sees it. Janie feels oppressed in her marriage, which gives her the courage to skip town. She is fed up with living under the watchful rule of Logan and is tired of being told what to do. This causes her to leave home and the only place she’s ever known.
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Janie’s relationship with her second husband, Jody, is more impactful to her life then with her relationship to Logan. It is also more damaging. Jody, who is strong and cunning, demands too much from his wife. He doesn’t let her speak in public, he hates it when she talks to other guys, he makes her hide parts of her body, and when he is mad, he beats her. Too much disappointment, Janie puts up with her beatings, and doesn’t allow her strong rebellious attitude to fight back. She behaves like the perfect wife Jody wants her to be. For years, she does his bidding, and still stays with him after he hits her. In Chapter 8, when she finally gives voice to her thoughts and tells Jody what she thinks of him, he dies, as if brought down by the force of her rage. Years of mistreatment give Janie the power to destroy men with her words. This also gives her a new found appreciation for freedom. She knows how it feels like to be beat down and not have any freedom, so any chance she gets of it, is appreciated completely.
With Tea Cake, Janie enjoys a fulfilling relationship. Tea Cake is not just a good match for Janie. He is also proof of the self-knowledge that can result from difficult and demeaning circumstances. Only because Janie suffered through two bad marriages can she know that Tea Cake is the right man for her. However Tea Cake is not the perfect man. Tea Cake disappears, gambles, has parties with money stolen from Janie, flirts with other women and he even beats Janie in order to prove that he controls her. Janie’s relationship with Tea Cake is weird and confusing. Despite Tea Cake’s numerous flaws however, Janie is truly happy with him. By this point Janie has given a voice to her rebellious attitude and this is perfectly shown at the end of her relationship with Tea Cake. Janie’s willingness to shoot and kill Tea Cake in order to save herself, and the peace she achieves at the end of the novel, prove that she has progressed and gained power and independence.
The author, Zora Neale Hurston, shows that by giving her main character three husbands, and by ending her novel with Janie alone and content, she suggests that happiness does not always involve being with someone, but is always different in the eye of the beholder. In Janie’s case, letting her domineering personality and strong rebellious attitude shine and lead her life is what makes her happy. History has shown that freedom is what people fight for, and something that Janie clearly fought for many times, and eventually ends up winning.”