d Savannah, and all of us slaveswas free.
d Out About Living ForThemselvesJanie Crawford evolving selfhood through three marriages. Fair-skinned,long haired, dreamy as a child, Janie grows up expecting better treatment thanshe gets.
Living life as one man’s mules or another man’s adornment. Janie isone black woman who does not have to live in lost sorrow, bitterness, fear, orfoolish romantic dreams, for Janie has learned “two things everybody’s got tuhdo fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out aboutlivin’ fuh themselves.” Janie Crawford is better off at the end of the novalTheir Eyes Were Watching God.
Janie is confused when she was a young woman. The noval explains her lifeas a young girl. Her mother left her when she was really young. Janie nevermet her. Her grandmother explains that her master raped her, “Den, one night ahheard de big funs boomin’ lak thunder. It kept up all night.
And de nextmorin’ Ah could see uh big ship at a distance and a great stirrin’ round. So Ahwrapped mah way on down to de landin’. The men was all in blue, and Ah heardpeople say Sherman was comin’ to meet de boats in Savannah, and all of us slaveswas free. So Ah run got mah baby and got in quotation wid people and found aplace Ah could stay.” Grandmother was wanting to make a school teacher out ofJanie’s mother. Janie found out that a school teacher rapped her mother so shenever met her father either.
Janie’s mother was seventeen, when she waspregnant with Janie. After Janie was born, Janie’s mother took to drinking alot. Janie’s grandmother raised Janie since she was born, grandmother says”Maybe it wasn’t much, but Ah done de best Ah kin by you. Ah raked and scrapedand bought dis lil piece uh land so you wouldn’t have to stay in de white folk’syard and tuck yo’ head befor’ other chillun at school.” When Janie turnedsixteen years of age, her childhood had ended with a kiss from a boy namedJohnny Taylor. Grandmother wanted to see her married at once but Janie did notunderstand what was going on. Janie did not feel love for this man or any manat this time but grandmother explains that she is not going to be around foreverand she wants to protect her from harm and danger.
Janie’s life as a youngperson was a hardship she did not understand what purpose in life she has andshe does not understand what love is.Janie dreams marriage will bring her love. Logon is a man wanting to marryJanie. Janie had no chance to know things, so she had to ask. “Did marriageend the cosmic loneliness of the unmated? Did marriage compel love like the sunthe day?” After Grandmother’s talks and Janie’s own conjectures she made a sortof comfort for herself. She came to the conclusion that she would love Logonafter they were married.
“I saw no other way for it to come about, but Nannyand the old folks had said it, so it must be so. Husbands and wives alwaysloved each other, and that was what marriage meant. It was just so.” Janiefelt glad for a moment in her life she felt that for then it wouldn’t seem sodestructive and moldy. She would not be lonely anymore.
Janie married Logan inNanny’s parlor. Janie felt lonesome when she went to Logan’s house “It was alonesome place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had everbeen. The house was absent of flavor, too. But anyhow Janie went on inside towait for love to begin.” After two months have gone by Janie had to reconsiderher marriage with Logon. “Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and anorange time.
Nevertheless, when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted downon the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things.” She did notknow exactly what to expect. “Janie knew that God tore down the old world everyevening and built a new one by sun-up.
” Janie knew now that marriage did notmake love. Her Grandmother dies and leave Janie to explore life for herself.Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.Janie’s marriage with Logan is falling apart.
Before long Janie noticedthat Logan had stopped doing what he used to do to her. He had stopped playingwith her long black hair. He said “If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuhyuh, look lak you oughta be able tuh tote it inside. Mah fust wife neverbothered me ’bout choppin’ no wood nohow. She’d grab dat axe and sling chipslak uh man.
You done been spoilt rotten.” One morning Logan has to go to LakeCity to see a man about a mule. Janie had started noticing how beautiful it isoutside and went outside. Janie had been outside for a long time when she hearda whistling coming down the road who she later found out his name was Joe Starks.Janie and Joe starting talking and she found out that he was aiming to go downto the new part of Florida. He later decided he needed a rest so it would dohim good to rest a week or so. Every day after that they managed to meet.
Theywould talk about when Joe would become a big ruler of things. He spoke forchange and chance. Still Janie hung back. The memory of Nanny was stillpowerful and strong.
Joe says “Janie, if you think Ah aims to tole you off andmake a dog outa you, youse wrong. Ah wants to make a wife outa you.” Janiedebated the matter that night in bed.
That morning Janie hurried out of thefront gate and turned south. She thought that even if Joe was not there waitingfor her, the change was bound to do her good. After she came, their Joe Starkswas waiting for her with a hired rig.
He was a very solemn and helped her tothe seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. Shethought “From now on until death she was going to have flower dust andspringtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom.
Her old thoughtswere going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said tofit them.” Joe and Janie were married before sundown, just like Joe had toldher. Janie starts a new life with Joe Starks hoping to find love.Janie understands that she is an independent person it’s she that makes hernot her husband that makes her.
On the train the day after they got, marriedJoe did not make many speeches with rhymes to her, but he bought her the bestthings the butcher had, like apples and a glass lantern full of candies. Mostlyhe talked about plans for the town when he got there. Janie liked the looks ofJoe. Joe and Janie go to the new down and they noticed it was a majordisappointment.
People thought that Janie was Joe’s daughter because of the agedifference. Joe wanted to be a big voice in this town. Life went on inEatonville and Joe bought some more land for the town. People were impressedabout Joe. They astonished Janie to see the money Jody had spent for the landcome back to him so fast.
Later ten new families bought lots and moved to townin six weeks. It seemed all too big and rushing for Janie to keep track of.Joe had a store built for him, before it had a complete roof there where cannedgoods piled on the floor and was selling so much he didn’t have time to go offon his talking tours. The people of Eatonville have liked him so much theydecided to make him mayor. Janie was talking to Joe “Joe, it jus’ looks lak itkeeps us some way we ain’t natural wid one ‘nother. You’se always off talkin’and fixin’ things, and Ah feel lak Ah’m jus’ makin’ time.
Hope it soon gitsover. Joe says “Over, Janie? I god, Ah ain’t even started good. ah told youin de very first beginnin’ dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad,’cause dat makes uh big woman outa you.” Janie soon began to feel the impact ofawe and envy against her sensibilities. “The wife of the Mayor was not justanother woman as she has supposed.
She slept with authority and so she was partof it in the town mind.” Janie started to think the inside state of hermarriage. She was not petal-open anymore with Joe. She was twenty-four andseven year’s marriage when she knew.
She found that out one day when Joe hadslapped her face in the kitchen. Joe had got really badly sick and died. Janienever loved him, and the first thing she did when he died was to get ride of theembargoes he had put on her like him wanting her always to have her hair up.Janie is finally starting to understand who she is and she understands whatindependency means.Janie is going to do things her way not her grandmother’s way. After JoeStarks death Janie spent six months or more grieving about him. She would dressin black and after awhile she dressed in white.
One most of the town went to aball game so the store was very slow. A man came into the store and asked forsome cigarettes. Janie later found out that his name is Virgibil Woods whomeverybody called Tea Cake. This man did not want to go to the game. He askedJanie if she wanted to play checkers but she did not know how because nobody hasever taught her.
Tea Cake showed her how to play checkers. Janie felt good forthe first time, she did not understand what this feeling was “Janie foundherself flowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought itnatural for her to play.” Janie looked at Tea Cake and like what she saw”Janied looked him over and got little thrills from every one of his good points.
Those full, lazy eyes with the lashed curling sharply away like drawn scimitars.The lean, over-padded shoulders and narrow waist.” Tea Cake came back a weeklater for some snub.
Tea Cake told Janie that he loved her “Ah didn’t aim tuhlet on tuh you ’bout it, leastways not right away, but Ah ruther be shot widtacks than fuh you tuh act wid me lak you is right now. You got me in de go-long” Tea Cake was twelve years younger then Janie, Janie told him “Aw, TeaCake, you just say dat tuhnight because de fish and corn bread tasted sort ofgood. Tomorrow yo’ mind would change.” Tea Cake disagreed to the comment andJanie said that she would love to hear what he thought of her in the morning.Teak Cake came back two days later to tell Janie his thoughts about her.
Janiewas starting to feel what love really is “Janie awoke next moring by feeling TeaCake almost kissing her breath away. Holding her and caressing her as if hefeared she might escaped his grasp and fly away.” After found days Tea Cakereturned to her Janie adored him and hated him while she felt how could he makeme suffer so much by not being here. Janie and Tea Cake were to be married.Janie’s first dream has come true.
She has finally felt love.Janie’s first love was her last love. Tea Cake was a gambling man.
Heplayed dice, cards, or anything in which there was a stake. At first Janie wasafraid Tea Cake was going to leave her because she had twelve hundred dollarsand it was missing she thought he took it and left her. Tea Cake came back andsaid that “Ah don’t blame yuh but it wasn’t lak you think.” Tea Cake hadpromised that he would pay back every dime with his gambling and he did. Janiefelt really wanted for the first time Tea Cake wanted her to participate ineverything that he did. Tea Cake taught her how to shoot and hunt, play cards,anything that he did he wanted her to do. Tea Cake missed her when he wasworking in the fields so he came back and sees her throughout the day.
Janiefinally went to work in the fields with him so they would be together always.Janie and Tea Cake moved to the Everglades. Everything in the Everglades wasbig and new for Janie.
Janie learned what it felt like to be jealous “A littlechunky girl took to picking a play out of Tea Cake in the fields and in thequarters. If he said anything at all, she’d take the opposite side and hit himor shove him and run away to make him chase her.” Janie thought that Tea Cakedloved this women and not her Tea Cake said “New, never did, and you know it too.Ah didn’t want her. Mrs. Turner was a person that did not like black people andshe thought that it was such a sin for Janie to be married with a person soblack.
Mrs. Turner wanted to introduce Janie to her brother, Janie did not wantthat, she had no feelings for Mr. Turner. When Mrs. Turner’s brother came andMrs.
Turner brought him to be introduced to Janie. When that happened Tea Cakehad a brainstorm and before the week was over he whipped Janie “Not because ofher behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him.Being able to whip her reassured him in possession.” Later there were ahurricane coming and Janie and Tea Cake decided to ride it out. The hurricanewe much more then they had expected “Tea Cake touched Janie and said, “Ah reckonyou wish you had of stayed in yo’ big house ‘way from such as dis, don’t you?”Tea Cake was the only love Janie has ever had. After the hurricane has passedmany, repair and work up was due.
Three weeks or so Tea Cake started gettingreally sick. During the storm a Wild Dog and got rabbis bit Tea Cake in theface. Tea Cake started getting delusional about things, the doctor wanted Janieto sleep by herself. Tea Cake could not drink water and he was dieing.
One dayTea Cake started wondering why Janie was leaving, he did not understand that shewas going to the doctors to find if there was. Janie really started to worryabout the well being of her life. Tea Cake was confused about everything and hegot a gun and aimed it at Janie.
There were only three bullets in the gun andhe pulled the trigger three times on an empty chamber. Janie shot and killedTea Cake in self defense. Her first love was out of her life forever.
Janie is better off at the end of the noval Their Eyes Were Watching Godthen at the beginning. When Janie was a young girl she was confused about manythings. Although her grandmother told her that marriage will bring her loveJanie finds out for herself that love must come first. Logan treats her asproperty not as a wife. Janie understands that you are what you make your selfto be nobody else makes who you are.
Janie figures out that she must do whatshe feels she must do not what her grandmother wants her to do. Janie felt lovefor the first time with Tea Cake and when Tea Cake was gone so was her last love.Janie experiences a lot throughout the noval but the greatest thing she hasachieved is that she knows who she is.Category: English