In Their Eyes Are
Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Janie experienced many different types
of love with each type of man. Janie thought love came with marriage but
she realizes this is not true as she goes along and moves on from man to man.
Janie apprehends a lot about what love really means and that marriage
does not equal love and what the true meaning of love is with the help of
Logan, Jody and Tea Cake showing her the power she has inside herself by
experiencing many different types of love.
Janie, with the help of Logan, Jody and Tea
Cake, has found the true meaning of love and how it affects your mood to be
with someone you love. With Logan, Janie was just another pair of working hands
and he didn’t listen to Janie’s opinions.
“You don’t need mah help out dere, Logan. Youse in yo’ place and Ah’m in
mine." "You ain’t got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh.
Git uh move on yuh, and dat quick." (30). Janie apprehends where her place
is with men and Logan wants her to leave that place and Janie is uncomfortable
about it. Janie thinks that marriage comes along and that you do not have to
try to make it work but she realizes that you do have to work for it. Janie
thinks she is in love with Jody and this is the closest she has gotten to love
so far but she soon concludes that it was just false hope. “’Dat’s right, but Ah’m uh man even if Ah is
de Mayor. But de mayor’s wife is
something’ different again. Anyhow
they’s liable tuh need me tuh say uh few words over de carcass, dis bein’ uh
special case. But you ain’t goin’ off in all dat mess uh commonness. Ah’m
surprised at yuh fuh askin’”(56). Once again Janie is still not getting the
voice she wants in the relationship.
Janie is just getting more and more irritable and that is not helping
her relationship with Jody. When Tea
Cake comes along the
whole thing changes. "…don't say you'se ole. You'se uh lil girl baby all
de time. God made it so you spent yo' ole age first
wid somebody else, and saved up yo' young girl days to spend wid me"
(172). Tea Cake encourages Janie to follow her dreams and lets her do the
things she wants to do. She has found
her true love and she is finally happy and she is able to enjoy life with him.
Janie has realized that marriage does not always end in love and
happiness. As Janie goes through each marriage she conceives something
different about love. “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree
soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the
panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her”
(Hurston 10). This shows in the beginning of the book that Janie is hopeful
about love and that she is romantic and believed in finding the perfect guy. She
believes he is out there and is determined to find him. When Janie is married
to Logan she realizes Nanny is not always right about marriage. “But anyhow
Janie went on inside to wait for love to begin. The new moon had been up and
down three times before she got worried in mind” (21). Janie
is getting worried about her not feeling love towards Logan yet. Janie is beginning to see that marriage does
not always end up in love and just because you get married does not mean you
will love each other. Janie accredits that she has finally found the perfect
man and she realizes what it actually means to be in love. “He [Tea Cake]
drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down him and felt a self-crushing love.
So her soul crawled out from its hiding place” (122). Janie is acquiring her love for Tea Cake and
she is letting it happen. She is
enabling her heart to lead and is not letting her fear get in the way of love.
Janie, from her past
experiences, has come out stronger than before and knows herself a lot better. Janie has changed throughout the book to fit
society’s needs and expectations but in the end she learns to just listen to
herself. “This business of the head-rag
irked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it” (51). This displays that Janie is letting others
control her life and she does not have the courage to stand up for herself. She
is still in societies controls and not her own. She lets herself get pushed
around and she does not stand up for herself. Janie throughout the book is
growing more confident and sophisticated.
“’Have yo’ way all yo’ life, trample and mash down and then die ruther
than tuh let yo’self heah ‘bout it. Listen, Jody, you ain’t de Jody ah run off
down de road wid’” (82). Janie is
finally free and she is getting to speak her mind. After everything is done with Jody she meets
Tea Cake who lets her be herself. “They
played away the evening again. Everybody
was surprised at Janie playing checkers but they liked it. Three or four merry with her in a restrained
way. Finally everybody went home but Tea Cake” (97). Janie is having fun with Tea Cake and they
are experiencing life and enjoying one another’s company, something Janie did
not have with Joe or Logan. She is
having fun finally and not caring what anyone else says about their
With the discovering of
herself, Janie has realized the true meaning of love and what each experience
has taught her to become the woman she is now. Janie is getting to be herself
and she is discovering what it is like to be in love and have the best friend
relationship she has always wanted.
Janie found her “pear tree” guy and she is happy with life. How Hurston killed off Tea Cake is a way to
show us that Janie is independent and that she can be happy without the help of
others with her. It also showed Janie
that Tea Cake was the real deal and that this is what love feels like, this is
what makes it worthwhile. The companionship and the friendship that Tea Cake
and Janie had will forever shape Janie into the new happy person she is in