Sunday, November 25, 2007

Their Eyes Were Watching God 11/26

Throughout this section, I felt Hurston tackles relationships and the emotional turmoil that comes with them, as a universal theme for woman of all races. Yet, clearly uses the character of Janie, a middle class African American woman who is looking for her place in society, as a reference to the class consciousness that was prevalent among ‘elite’ African Americans of the time.

Much like Langston Hughes (whom she references in her article “Characteristics of Negro Expression”) Hurston includes references to the everyday people, not just with dialect, but with the stories of the townspeople who sit on the store porch, and later on, with references to jooks, gambling, and life in the Everglades. As an immovably stern force, Jody reminds Janie that she should not be out among just anyone, and should not carry on in the town’s conversations. However, upon his death, Jody is somewhat sympatric character, as Janie describes him as a misunderstood man who had only sought to make something of himself, Perhaps a cautionary tale against separating yourself from the plight of your race, or being over ambitious? (86-87)

After which Janie is only able to enjoy life when she stops worrying about what others think and focuses instead on what makes sense for her. Besides dating out of her class, as the townspeople and even the boy who helps with the store reminds her, Janie also goes against the accepted behavior for widows (110-111.) She’s left wondering if she will be left as the widow Tyler, high and dry, with no money and no husband. However, in the end she does leave with Tea cake, and although it seems they have a bumpy start, she finds herself in the Everglades, among yet another class of people, working as a laborer, seemingly happy, although their seems much more to learn about Tea cake.


Samantha said...

I agree with you on the sybolism of universal womanhood. I too thought that Jody was a great influence in helping Janie speak up to her true women. I wrote about in my blog how when Janie takes off her ragcap, she is stripping all thoes insecurities and standing up for her true woman.

I also thought that Hurston took a different approach in how she portrayed womanhood. After all she was married a few times. This is also portraying to the typical sterotype at that time that women of color are "loose." We'll have to just keep reading to find out what happens with Tea Cake.

Angie said...

I agree, I think that Tea Cake is going to have an interesting impact on Janie’s life and possibly the way she approaches it. As we have seen she leaves for the everglades to start over yet again, which shows she is strong and not scared of change and what it may bring. Maybe it is like the poems we read in class that change is coming for the African Americans and not to be afraid of it but take it by the hand and go with it.