Determinism vs. Free Will in "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Essay

Words: 1416
Pages: 6

Laura Lecarreaux
May 4, 2005
LIT 233/Section 09
Professor Carbonell

"'…but she don't seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.'" A woman's search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God.

In the continuing philosophical debate of free will versus determinism, the question arises as to whether or not free will exists. Do people really have the capability of making decisions on their own? OR Is life already determined, and whatever we do is (and always was) the only thing that we could have done at that time, conditions being what they were? Given the circumstances in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, I would argue that, while free
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But, as time went by, Janie realized that she still did not have any feelings of what she had considered to be love in her husband. Logan Killicks complained to Janie that she had been "spoilt rotten" because she did not do hard labor around the house like his previous wife had done. Logan instructed Janie to start doing more work around their house. After an argument with Logan, Janie makes a decision to leave her husband and find better things. She runs off with a man named Joe Starks, and Joe takes control over Janie's life from the moment the she left Logan for him. Joe gives her restrictions and does not allow her to speak her mind. Joe claims the "the woman's place is in the home". After so many years of a depressing marriage to a controlling husband, Janie never really made any decisions for herself. So, after her husband dies and a younger man named Tea Cake comes along, Janie is put in a position that is completely different from anything that she has ever experienced in her life. All of her life, Janie has been taken care of by people who believed that she was not capable of taking care of herself. First her Nanny, then Logan Killicks, then Joe Starks; they all made up Janie's mind for her. If Nanny had never treated Janie as though she were a helpless individual and always needed somebody to take care of her, then Janie would have become a stronger person. Janie was never sure of what she wanted for herself, and her weaknesses in