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Essay Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Husrton

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Throughout a person’s lifetime, he or she is likely to encounter a death that will have a profound effect on the way they look at themselves and the world around them. This is true for Janie Crawford, the main character of the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. The book takes place in the early 1900s and follows the life of a young black woman named Janie; her story is told in the form of a flashback as she describes her life to her friend Pheoby. Her tale begins when she is a teenager, illustrating her life with her grandmother and three different men up until her return to Eatonville. It follows her quest to find true love, and shows her grow stronger despite the judgment she faces. During Janie’s life, she loses many people who are close to her, including her grandmother Nanny, her second husband Jody, and her third husband Tea Cake; these deaths overall have a positive effect on Janie because they each bring her closer to finding her voice, becoming truly independent, and widening her horizons.
At the beginning of the book, Janie struggles to find her voice and tends to let other people tell her what to do. Each death brings her closer to finding her voice and speaking out for what she believes in by connecting with others. One example of this is just before Jody dies, he is lying in his death bed after weeks of not allowing Janie to visit him. Janie enters his room without permission and tells him off, saying “You wouldn't listen. You done live wid me for twenty years and you don't half know me atall. And you could have but you was so busy worshippin' de works of yo' own hands and cuffin folks around in their minds till you didn't see uh whole heap uh things yuh could have.'
'Leave heah Janie, Don't ...


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...y, but he is with her spiritually. He gave Janie strength and after he is gone, she is completely independent. She testifies for herself and does what she wants by moving back to Eatonville. Finished with chasing the horizon, Janie is at peace with her life. His death made her finally become content with her life. There is no desire left in her to run away with another man or find somewhere else to go. With the death of Tea Cake, Janie feels a type of freedom she has never had before, and ends her search for the horizons.
Overall, the deaths that occur in Janie’s life affect her positively because they help her find her voice, become more independent, and widen her horizons. Death is not something Janie mourns, but something she finds strength in.



Works Cited
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.



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