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Their Eyes Were Watching God (Janie Crawford as Sexual Object)
The novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a book that is written by an AfricanAmerican Zora Neale Hurston. The novels set up is in the southern and central Florida in the
early 20th century and gives a general perception of black women and how they are oppressed
due to the color of their skins. In the novel there is a black woman whose name is Janie
Crawford, she is a protagonist and dreams of reaching greater heights regarding equality in a
relationship in marriage. Concisely, the novel describes the saga of Janie Crawford’s journey in
female identity and female enlighten. In this regard, Their Eyes Watching God gives a
metamorphosis of how Janie Crawford started from a mute character to an active character.
Therefore, the novel portals a perfect deal of artistry of which a black woman has to escape
poverty and all the traditional marriage abuses and sexual harassment and emerge as a victor.
Notwithstanding the way that she persisted corruption and embarrassments in her
attempts to comprehend her dream marriage, she is compelling finally (Bergoffen, Debra 98). An
all-around requested examination of Janie's journey reveals how she gets her voice, how she
collects her character and how finally Janie Crawford accomplishes the far horizons, the
objective she had regularly needed. In the crucial time of her trek, she recognizes inertly the
recognized contemplations of sex and takes after the well-trodden method for the wedding a
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wealthy man to have ensured and budgetary security. Not ready to set up any dynamic
relationship with her significant other, Logan Killicks, she relinquishes him for Joe Starks
(Bergoffen, Debra 106). With that said, the paper will aim at giving a well-researched analysis of
the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God and specifically on Janie Crawford as a sexual object.
In this regard, the novel initially was badly received as it was considered to create a
notion of hate against men particularly its tragic end where Tea Cakes is killed by Janie
Crawford. However, according to Deffenbacher, Kristina (116) recently the novel has been
praised as a representative figure in women literature and African-American literature. In
praising the author Bloom notes, “Essentially, Hurston is the author of one superb and moving
novel, unique not in its kind but in its isolated excellence among other stories of the kind” Zora
Neal Hurston (1891-1960) is a phenomenal writer and a prominent figure in America literary
history (Deffenbacher, Kristina 118). What makes Hurston stand out is her nonconforming
nature as a novelist. She deviates from the way females are perceived in the male-dominated
Thus, she categorically brings the issue of black female sexuality as depicted in Their
Eyes Were Watching God creating a discussion around the history of black female sexual
objectification. The novel is really about Janie Crawford struggling to find an identity for herself
as a result of the suffering that black women have had to endure in the male-dominated black
society. To understand the depiction of Janie as a sexual object it is crucial to start right from the
beginning, and that is from Nanny (Boisnier, Alicia 212). It is from here that we can get a better
understanding of why Janie was viewed as such. Nanny, Janie’s grandmother was constrained by
both patriarchal African culture and the White American oppression and suppression which
trickles down to her granddaughter as well.
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We learn from the novel that Nanny while a slave was raped by a white man who brought
about the birth of Janie’s mother Leafy, who was of mixed race (Silber, Ken 281). The slave
owner had would not have committed the hideous act if he never saw Nanny as an outlet of
fulfilling his sexual desires. The madam on the plantation sees her as a risk to have around due to
the already conception that she is a sex object who men white and black can have at will. She
threatens to sell one-month-old Leafy, so Nanny sees it fit to flee from the plantation. She does
this in an attempt to better the life leafy and make it entirely different from her own (Boisnier,
Alicia 210). Leafy, Janie’s mother was also a victim of rape which led to the birth of Janie,
which occurred as she was getting out of school and never made it to their house until the next
morning, coming in crawling on her hands and knees. This action traumatizes Leafy and brings
her a lot of shame, leading to her disappearance and her whereabouts remaining unknown. Rape
has reeling effects on women and leads to women never really having the urge to live anymore.
What causes abuse to occur in the first place is when these women are viewed as sexual objects
and not as human beings deserving of respect and dignity. Even before Janie, the soc...