English 3 H
28 August 2014
Summer Homework Assignment
Their Eyes Were Watching God
1.As a parent, you always want the best for your child. In Janie’s case, Nanny was considered to be her parent. Nanny always wanted Janie to live comfortably and have the best of everything—including love. Nanny refused to let Janie live the same life as her mother and thought it was best to marry off Janie as soon as possible. She believed marriage will bring out love in the relationship and that it provides security and stability. Even though Janie abided by Nanny’s decision, she still didn’t experience the love she longed for. She had yet to experience her ideal idea of love.
2.A major theme throughout the novel is the importance of the pear tree to Janie. Towards the beginning of the novel, she experiences serenity under a pear tree and it becomes a symbol of her voice throughout the novel. While watching the bees interact with the pear tree flowers, Janie witnesses a perfect moment in nature brought along with immaculate energy and peaceful harmony. She begins to chase after that ideal and self-discovery throughout the novel. However, she confuses herself with inner happiness and peace with love and romance with a spouse. For a long period of her life, she believed that love was something that was beautifully crafted within marriage and romance. In the end, she realized that what she was searching for in her husbands lay within her. The image of the pear tree reappears and Janie is able to find the peace and harmony she was longing for.
3.They say that “money can’t buy happiness” and that was definitely the case for Janie in her marriage with Joe. Although she was able to live comfortably—financially—she was nowhere near to finding the love or euphoria that she desired. Being a mayor’s wife meant nothing to her if she didn’t have the love she idealized. Her and Joe’s perspective of love differed and they weren’t able to quite understand each other—even until the end.
4.The hurricane embodies the catastrophic ferocity of nature which is the contradiction of the pear tree and the horizon—which represent grace and contentment. The storm brings about the characters to question who they are and what kind of world they live in. The connections of the title also relate to their race and personal independence. The black community question God after realizing that their answers couldn’t be given by the white people. African Americans follow what the Caucasians do by staying in the Everglades and experience a horrid storm but Hurston tries to relay a message that African Americans can’t depend on Caucasians to learn what their future holds, but to gain faith in God and watch to see what He brings. However, Janie follows God and rejects other peoples’ ideas of what she should want in life.
5.In the court room, Janie has no voice or power. The fact that Janie does not have power is reinforced by the fact that her voice does not mediate what is happening. Ironically, the ones in understanding of Janie were not the black community, but the Caucasians instead. Misunderstanding arose from the black people and they assumed that Tea Cake treated Janie right but she was too spoiled to appreciate it. But they of course couldn’t do anything because what advantages do they even have in the presence of white folks? The “well-to-do white women” understood Janie though. They felt sympathy for her and pitied her, guarding her like a wall from the blacks.
6.Mrs. Turner and Tea Cake did not get along. Their views on race superiority differed immensely. Mrs. Turner’s animosity towards black people prevented from her and Tea Cake from having any friendship. She despised the black community and reused to believe that she was one of “their” kinds. Mrs. Turner worships all things white and believes that everything with white is beauty and black are ugly. Because of this theory, she also praises Janie because Janie seems to hold