English 11 AP, Period 4
Speaking Through the Peach Trees
Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is a piece of literature from 1937 in which the plight of a young black woman, Janie, living in Southern Florida unfolds as she marries and remarries three very different men. Just as every man is very unique, Janie's happiness and experience with each marriage varies greatly. Hurston uses parallels between Janie's love life and nature, as well as selectively employs dialogue between her and each of her husbands in order to portray the quality of their intimate relationship.
A common motif in Their Eyes is nature. Specifically the sensual interaction between a bee and the flower of a pear tree. The two organisms are an example of a near perfect symbiotic relationship, fueled solely by natural instinct. Janie witnesses this interaction as a young girl and she is engrossed in the idea of natural, sensual, in her words, “marriage” (pg. 13) between two organisms. From that moment on Janie's sexuality blossomed and her craving to endure a similar connection gradually began to grow. However, not fully understanding that the reason the bee and the blossom are such perfect partners is due to the fact that their interaction occurs without having to be forced, Janie allows herself to be forced into a marriage by her Grandmother. Janie marries Logan Killicks who provides financial security for Janie, however there is no love within their marriage. Janie believes that love comes from marriage at this point, as opposed to marriage being a result of love. Janie's marriage to Logan does not manifest naturally, therefore it does not parallel the relationship between the bee and the pear tree flower. When Janie meets Jody Starks, she mistakes passion for natural bond, and subsequently runs off with the young up-and-coming politician. It seems to Janie that she will not be oppressed by this lover, as sparks fly between them. However, these...