Jasmine Hobbs English 1102 November 2, 2012 Life’s Awakenings In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, there are many reasons why this novel has been referred to as an “awakening novel”. According to dictionary. com, an awakening is a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something. `Janie has major awakenings in her life. Janie is a young lady who is trying to find her own way in society, despite the morals she is raised on. Most women approach relationships by the way that they are raised, but Janie goes about hers in a different way.
In Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God the protagonist, Janie experiences awakenings that lead to her self- realizations, new knowledge, and self -worth. The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God has been referred to as an “awakening novel”. A lot of events that take place throughout Janie’s life raise her awakening. When her awakening finally began to rise, she realizes she has to find things out for herself. When someone finds their awakening, it means they found something within them that they never knew was there.
She cannot find her awakening until major moment has taken place. “Two things everybody's got tuh do fuhtheyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves (183)”. this quotes states that Janie has finally realized or is realizing that you cannot live for anyone but yourself. Janie’s first awakening takes place under the pear tree. The pear tree awakens Janie’s self-fulfillment and sexual awakening. The pear tree symbolizes Janie's emerging womanhood and experiencing new knowledge on love. The tree opens up Janie’s lifelong search for love.
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The tree helps her fulfill things, this is why she spends so much time under the tree and begins to realize were she stands in her womanhood. “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 She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. 11)”. This quote is explaining Janie’s first sexual awakening. This awakening changes her life, because she is no longer a child anymore, she is now an adult. This was Janie most important awakening because it opens up her independence in life. It also opens up new knowledge on what love is to her and how it makes her feels. Another awakening that Janie has is when she leaves Logan Killicks. Mr. Killicks is a man that Janie married, because her grandmother wanted her to marry a wealthy man that can take care of her financially.
Janie does not love or want to be with him. She tried hard to fall in love with him but it does not happen. “Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman (Hurston, 25). ” This quote states that Janie finally realizes her idea of making a loving relationship with Logan is destroyed, and so she no longer has hope that the marriage will become more intimate. This creates personal growth and self-awareness for her. Janie becomes acutely aware of her own desires for love, and realizes that her dreams can only be fulfilled through her own pursuit of them.
She also realizes he self-worth and becomes aware that she deserves better. Janie’s third awakening takes place when she marries Jody Sparks. Jody sparks is a politician and businessman; he is very wealthy and takes good care of Janie. Jody treats Janie as a possession rather than a person. Jody starts to beat Janie and make her wear a head scarf to hide her natural beauty from other men. She wasn’t petal-open with anymore with him (184)”. This quote states that Janie will no longer be a just a possession to Jody, and she will no longer put up with his disrespect.
As he begins to become controlling, Janie slowly starts to fall out of love with him. Jody passes away with liver failure, and Janie begins to realize who she really. When he dies Janie takes off her headscarf, and begins speaking again. Janie has found herself and now realize she deserves more and will never let another man put her down. Not only did Janie have an awakening, so did Edna Pontillier in the novel The Awakening. They both have very similar awakenings. Just as Janie left her first husband and went through an wakening, so did Mrs. Pontillier. Mrs. Pontillier had her awakening when she left her husband that takes very good care, and moves out into her own home which she calls the pigeon house. These two women are different from each other; they both find their awakening the same way. Janie and Mrs. Pontiller both realized they do not need a man with money to be happy and satisfy them. They also realize their self-worth as woman and begin doing whatever they want to do. Janie is a young African American girl brought up just as slavery is declining.
She faces a lot of ups and downs in her life. She does not know her worth until she goes out into the real world, and went through new things and experiences. She realizes that no matter what someone in life tells you, you have to find out the truth for yourself. Through all the trials she face, she still finds her self-worth, new-knowledge, and self-realization. Works Cited New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Zora Hurston; Harper Perennial Modern Classics The Awakening, Classic House Books, New York 2009
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