Unit 4 Essay Their Eyes Were Watching God

Submitted By MrIrrelevant
Words: 996
Pages: 4

Their Ears Were Listening To the Blues

In African-American culture, blues music was originally used as a mirror that singers and songwriters could use to project their life’s struggles in a creative way that allowed them to see their issues for what they were; obstacles to work through. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the main character Janie finds herself blocked by a series of obstacles, partially brought on by her own actions, preventing her from finding her path to security and happiness. However, due to her awareness and acceptance of the personal issues and struggles that besiege her, she strives to work until she accomplishes her goals in true “blues” fashion. Throughout the novel, Janie finds herself in many unfortunate circumstances, some through no fault of her own and others by her own personal decisions. However, despite all of her struggles and the abusive relationships that she places herself in, she finds the strength to adapt or move on. In her abusive relationship with Logan, Janie is constantly objectified as a worker rather than a wife. Logan views Janie as a tool rather than a loving partner and denies her comfort and her preferred form of work, “You ain’t got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh. Git uh move on yuh, and dat quick” (Watching God, 4.54). Janie’s insolence towards Logan grows during their time spent together, in part because of his workmanlike requirement of her as well as the clashing ideological differences between both Janie and Logan. Janie also found exception to Logan’s inability to express himself, as evidenced by his harsh response when she threatened to leave and run away. Despite her unhappiness with Logan, she remains faithful to him as she believes it is the proper thing to do. In this way, Janie acknowledges her transgressions and stays committed to her mistakes. However, in embracing her characterization as a “blues” character, she ultimately decides that while Logan loves her, his strained communication and the working conditions that he places upon her is too much. Janie’s leaving of Logan represents her maturation and realization that she can both admit her fault and seek to improve herself at the same time. In seeking to improve her emotional and physical well-being, Janie leaves Logan for Joe Stark, a man seeking power. It is her belief that his willpower and ambition will help her find her true happiness, but instead it leaves her ignored and shunned by her husband. After 20 years of subservience and enduring countless insults as well as physical assaults, Janie finally stands up to Joe on his deathbed, “"Tain’t really no need of you dying, Jody, if you had of – de doctor – but it don’t do no good bringin’ dat up now. Dat’s just whut Ah wants tuh say, Jody, You wouldn’t listen. You done lived wid me for twenty years and you don’t half know me atall. And you could have but you was so busy worshippin’ de works of yo’ own hands, and cuffin’ folks around in their minds till you didn’t see uh whole heap uh things yuh could have." (Watching God, 8.37). In hearing that Joe is dying, Janie finally musters up enough courage to tell off Joe for how he’s been treating her as well as explain to him how his predicament is his own fault. Janie’s 20 years of waiting to tell off Joe is indicative of how despite the abuse she received, she truly thought that she was better off with security and comfort rather than happiness. In realizing her folly, as well as the idea that she might soon be free of his abuse, she rushes to release the tongue lashing that she had been withholding. In doing so, she exorcised the demons that she harbored for years and left the toxic household that she had resided in. In blues-esque fashion, she acknowledged her problem and sought