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Essay on Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Date Submitted: 11/06/2011 06:30 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 56.1 
  • Words: 591
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Body and Power in Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Zora Neale Hurson’s masterpiece Their Eyes Were Watching God is the first literary work that fully demonstrates a black woman’s process of   “Awakening” and serves as a milestone of female imagery creation in black literature. This novel sucessfully depicts a new woman image that tries to break from white-dominated and male-dominated society and pursue her own identity and freedom. This essay focuses on the discription about the main character’s physical appearance, or her body, and tries to reveal a new perspective on understanding this novel.
    Body, especially female body, has long been deciphered into a mark, a signifier that equivalents to power. Women exchange their bodies for material gains and men consider women bodies as possessions and embediment of power. The heroine in Zora’s book, experienced a constant resistence against male power’s materialization of her body. In the beginning of the novel, Zora wrote women’s gossip about the main character, Jenie Crawford. They criticized Janie’s dress---“Can’t she find no dress on put on?-Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in?”[1]) They talked about Janie’s haircut because it was considered undignified for a woman of Janie’s age to wear her hair down. Her refusal to bow down was a clear despise towards a social norm imposed by men.
    Her marriage with the three men was in fact a struggle against her husbands’ enslavement of her, representated by their trying to control her body.
    Her first marriage was arranged by her grandmother, who wanted to settle Janie in a secured position. Her husband Logan Killicks, owner of sixty acres of farm, married Janie for her beauty. Their marriage was like a trade---body for security and wealth. This loveless marriage striffled Janie and made her elopement with Jody Starks, who Janie thought would bring love into their marriage.
    Jody Starks turned out to be far from satisfactory. He didn’t allow Janie to...


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