Janie in “Their Eyes were Watching God”
After Janie’s three marriages, she found herself; who she wants to be and what she wants to become. Jamie’s husbands were controlling until the last one who was more outgoing. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God can be viewed using the feminist critical lens and the overarching themes of the act of speaking, seeking horizons, and confidence to deviate from traditional gender roles. Janie was being controlled by her husbands. her ability to speak represents her freedom as a woman and with her husbands controlling her, her voice is suppressed.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the narrator states,” Time came when she fought back with her tongue as best as she could, but it didn’t do her any good. It just made Joe do more…. So gradually, she pressed her teeth together and learned to hush.”(71) Janie fought for her “voice”, but eventually she comes to accept Joe’s control over her, since it was easier to just give in and bury her voice deep inside. Obviously, Janie’s voice was suppressed because of her controlling husband. She thought being quiet is better than fighting for herself since she can’t do anything about it and no one would listen to her and also she became used to her husband controlling her.
Throughout the novel Janie is so determined to find true love. Her goal was to reach the horizons and be herself. In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the narrator states,” Here Nanny has taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon for no matter how far a person can go to the horizon is still way beyond you— and pinched in such it into such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about the grandmother’s neck tight enough to choke her.”(Ch. 9)
Janie was extremely upset with her Nanny and blames Nanny for taking away her taking away her horizons and setting her up with Jody, who is very controlling. Janie wishes that she had not listened to Nanny. As one can see, her Nanny forced her to marry Jody who she doesn’t like and Janie thought that eventually she would learn how to love Jody, but it didn’t happen, she doesn’t love Jody. Eventually she finds her horizons after her third husband. As Janie went through from marrying the “right” man to the right man for her, she gains the confidence to deviate from traditional gender roles.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, the narrator states,” what she doin coming back here in dem overhalls? Can’t she find no dress to put on? Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in?… Betcha she off wid some gal so young she ain’t even got no hairs— Why she don’t stay in her class.” When Janie comes back to her hometown after burying Teacake, she does not act like a traditional woman should. She didn’t care what the people are saying about her and about what she is wearing. Janie, however is confident of who and what she wants to be and does not care what the society thinks.
Obviously, Janie learned her lessons over the course of her past husbands and she back stronger than ever. She gained her confidence and her will to stand up for herself and now she doesn’t care what the society thinks about her. Over the course of her three marriages, Janie found herself and she became what she wanted to become. She found her voice as a free woman , her horizons, the goals of her life, and her confidence to the society. She grown a lot since her first marriage. She is more experienced and now knows what she wants for herself.