Their Eyes Were Watching God Gender Analysis

Words: 906
Pages: 4

Concepts of gender inequity and Janie’s attitude towards it run throughout each of her relationships in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora Neale Hurston wrote the novel in a very revolutionary time, which lent to the overall tone of the book. Hurston, though unappreciated in life, plowed on, writing during the Harlem Renaissance in controversial ways about controversial topics. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, reinforces and demonstrates the idea that women are powerful and autonomous people who can, and should, have the power to be independant.
Throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God, a central theme is that women are independant people, and that they should be at liberty to make their own choices, regardless of society's opinion. For instance, when Janie’s abusive husband Joe dies, Janie stops publicly mourning a bit earlier than is conventionally allowed. This is noticed by the people of Eatonville, and they begin to gossip about her. Her friend Phoebe warns her to stop, but she continues, saying, “Let ’em say whut dey wants tuh, Pheoby. To my thinkin’ mourning oughtn’t tuh last no longer’n grief.” (111) Janie is not apologetic for her actions; she is shameless. She does not care about others’ opinions of her actions, and will do what feels right to her. Hurston does this intentionally, to show that Janie, though previously controlled by both Logan and Joe, is still strong and
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Hurston delicately weaves characters’ thoughts and actions into a novel that demonstrates her true feelings and stance on gender and power dynamics. She did this in order to spread awareness of the struggles her gender is faced with daily in order to generate change. The novel was profound, and Janie’s attitude and actions exemplify the central point that women are spectacular individuals that should make their own choices, and are a valued part of