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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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In the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie identifies with a pear tree and makes it her life quest to imitate the marvel that is the circle of life. Janie's life mimics the life cycle of the pear tree, in that the tree blossoms, dies, and revives with every season. At the beginning of her life, Janie is can be seen as not having roots, as she does not have a mother or father to take care of her, rather her grandmother, Nanny, cares for her. Nanny even says to Janie, "Us colored folks is branches without roots and that makes things come round in queer ways" (Hurston, 13). Each connection that Janie is involved in blooms and withers away like the symbol of the pear tree from her childhood.

The first blossom on Janie's life is Nanny. Nanny raised Janie from a little child and gave her the roots she needed to support herself. When Janie feels that she doesn't love Logan, Nanny gives her the advice, "if you don't want him, you sho oughta. Hea you is wid de onliest organ in town, amongst colored folks, in yo' parlor" (18). Nanny tries to express to Janie that she has her own voice but she forces her into a position where that voice is silenced and therefore condemning all hopes Janie become the woman that she is capable of being.

The effect of Nanny's blossom is the death of the bloom as seen in the marriage of Janie's first of three husbands, Logan. He is a man that sees no wife in his relationship, but he sees a worker in Janie. "If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuh yuh, look lak you oughta be able tuh tote it inside" (21). Janie goes back to the pear tree to relate that her marriage should be peaceful, such as "Ah wants things sweet wid mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think" (19). Logan is the pollution to Janie's tree of life. Even Janie is knowledgeable of the apparent destruction that Logan is causing: "The vision of Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree" (11). His sole accomplishment is delaying Janie from realizing that she can be a woman with graceful thought, and she is not just a house worker. He prevents the independent Janie from reaching her potential.

The next part of Janie's cycle is Joe Starks. The role of this marriage is of a different nature because Janie no longer is a house slave. Joe believes that "She's a woman and her place is in de home"



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