Essay about Janie and Jody, Conflict and Freedoom: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Words: 2407
Pages: 10

Janie and Jody, Conflict and Freedom: Their Eyes Were Watching God In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God written by Zora Neale Hurston, the protagonist, Janie, and her husband for a respectable portion of her life, Jody Starks, seek courtship for entirely different reasons. Janie pursues sexual and emotional fulfillment as she journeys to the horizon and to a place of limitless possibility, while the male domineering Jody Starks seeks only after power, control, and a good place in society. These dramatic differences in ideals of love are the source of conflict between Janie and Jody and utterly shift Janie’s understanding of freedom and what it means to be free. Their different outlooks also lead to their downfall as a couple, …show more content…
He lights up the town in every sense of the word. He purchased land for it, he literally provides light for the town, he manages it, he builds houses and stores for it, and he claims to do this all for the people. In a sense, Jody is so powerful that he replaces the sun. Additionally, Jody and Janie live in a newly built two-story house that makes all of the other houses look tiny by comparison. This demonstrates Jody’s greed and wealth, but it also shows us that his claim of caring solely for the people of the town is a just a claim, and nothing more. Everything he does benefits him, not anyone else and not even Janie. The masculine power that Jody embodies and its engagement with Janie’s idea of love and freedom are further explored when Jody makes Janie tie her hair up in a rag while she is working in the store. Janie’s hair is an essential aspect of her identity. It is beautiful, strong, and long. Jody, in order to achieve complete control over Janie, must suppress this beauty. Because he doesn’t want her to inspire lust in other men and is “skeered some de rest of us mens might touch it round dat store” (79), he orders her to wear her hair up in rags. Another man’s interest in Janie would challenge or insult his authority. Jody demanding that Janie tie up her hair also symbolizes ownership and submissiveness in a patriarchal society, and Jody says, "Somebody got to