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Rather, the book is ripe with multiple life lessons. However, one of the central themes focuses on the idea of self-actualization.
Throughout the novel, Janie looks outside of herself for fulfillment. She grows up under the care of her grandmother, a woman who was born into slavery and now looks for little more She grows up under the care of her grandmother, a woman who was born into slavery and now looks for little more than security.
She pushes Janie into a marriage with Logan Killicks, an older farmer who can provide Janie with a place to live and enough to live in semi-comfort. Janie hopes that this marriage will lead her to the happiness she desires, that she will eventually fall in love with Logan, but things quickly change as he soon expects her to work much harder than she believes she should have to.
Initially Jody treats Janie very well, not expecting her to work as Logan did, but as they settle into their new life together in Eatonville, Jody begins to grow more possessive of Janie, wanting her to be not just a trophy but his trophy. He grows jealous of the attention that the other men show her and refuses to let her dress and look the way she wishes to.
In Tea Cake, Janie finds happiness. While their relationship is far from perfect, Tea Cake genuinely wants her to be her own person and loves her as such.
The two eventually leave town together to head to the Florida Everglades. They set up a meager life of hard work in "the muck," and while Janie has detested physical labor before, in the muck she is happy to work hard alongside Tea Cake. The two grow closer and closer, and Janie begins to realize her own happiness through the relationship.
However, tragedy strikes in the form of a hurricane. As Janie and Tea Cake attempt to flee to safer land, Tea Cake is bitten by a rabid dog and begins to grow sick. As the illness progresses, he begins to grow suspicious of Janie and to talk to her in ways similar to how her other husbands did.
She retaliates by killing him with a shotgun. The act nearly destroys her, but it also shows that she finally understands her own self-worth and wishes to preserve it.
Janie is put on trial for the murder, but the jury decides she acted in self-defense. Those that knew her and Tea Cake, however, turn on her until they see the amount of attention she puts into his funeral. Janie then leaves the muck and returns to Eatonville. The citizens of the town gossip about her, but she is not bothered by their words, because, through her journey, she has found inner peace and happiness.
She has found the horizon that she so desperately wanted, and she pulls it in around her like a cloak. Through her journey, Janie moves from an immature young woman, unsure of what she wants, to a mature, content, self-actualized person.
She no longer requires the support or approval of others, and she has realized her own potential for happiness.In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the main character, Janie, is forced to conform with the accepted standards of society and marry a man who has amassed wealth and land.
The most prevalent themes in Their Eyes Were Watching God involve Janie's search for unconditional, true, and fulfilling love. She experiences different kinds of love throughout her life. As a result of her quest for this love, Janie gains her own independence and personal freedom, which makes her a .
(Click the themes infographic to download.) In Their Eyes Were Watching God, men and women occupy very different roles. Women are not only considered the weaker sex, but they're fundamentally def (Click the themes infographic to download.) In Their Eyes Were Watching God, idealized romantic love.
Further Study. Test your knowledge of Their Eyes Were Watching God with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and . The primary theme in the book Their Eyes were Watching God is the search for oneself. Janie grew-up at a time when finding and marrying a man seemed the only means to a woman's happiness.
Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, – January 28, ) was an influential author of African-American literature and anthropologist, who portrayed racial struggles in the early 20th century American South, and published research on Haitian voodoo.
Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, her most popular is the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.