Their Eyes Were watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Three Marriages, Three Lessons

In the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston’s book, Their Eye Were Watching God,
Janie had an adolescent view on love until she learns many lessons through her
three marriages. She learned from her marriage to Logan Killicks that she could
not learn to love someone. After her marriage to Jody Starks, Janie realized
that equality is important within a marriage. When Janie married Tea Cake, she
realized true love could be found. Janie learned through her three marriages
even though she had bad experiences with love; there was a thing as true love.

Before her three marriages, Janie was very naïve about love. Zora Neale
Hurston shows Janie’s view on marriage, “She saw a dust-bearing bee sink
into sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love
embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from the root to tiniest branch
creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was marriage!”
(pg. 11) To Janie, marriage was perfect harmony between two people like a pear
tree and its surroundings. Janie felt like being like a pear tree and its
surroundings would be in true love, “Oh to be a pear tree - any tree in bloom!
With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen.”

When Janie married Logan Killicks, she realized that she could not learn to
love someone. Janie was forced be Nanny to marry Logan Killicks for her
financial stability. She thought that she could love him after their marriage,
“Yes, she would love Logan after they were married.” (Pg. 21) But after two
months and two weeks, Janie visits Nanny pouting about her marriage. She tries
to get Nanny to teach her how to love Logan, “’Cause you told me Ah mus
gointer love him, and, and Ah don’t. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah
could do it.” (Pg. 23) After Nanny died and Logan Killicks started to treat
Janie as if he was doing her a favor, Janie knew just because she was married,
she was not in love.

Janie learned from her marriage to Jody Starks that she needs to think about
her happiness and that a married couple should see each other as equals. Janie
fell in love with Jody because of his big plans and his success. Jody treated
Janie as an accessory, a bonus to his success. Jody only wanted Janie to make
him look good. Janie realized that Jody never respected her, “Ah knowed you
wasn’t goingtuh listen tuh me. You changes everything but nothin’ don’t
change you - not even death. But Ah ain’t goin’ outa here and Ah ain’t
gointuh hush.” (Pg. 86) Janie knew that Jody never treated her as an equal and
she did not love him because of it.

Janie recognized when she married Tea Cake that, although she had gone
through two marriages without love, true love could be found. Janie was very
careful when falling for Tea Cake. She took her time and made sure he was the
right person for her. She knew she wanted someone she was going to love on her
own, not forced, and someone that was going to treat her as an equal. Tea Cake
treated her as an equal. He allowed her to do things Jody never would have like
shooting and playing checkers. Janie loved Tea Cake, their marriage was like a
pear tree and its surroundings, a perfect harmony. Zora Neale Hurston compares
their marriage with the pear tree, “Then Tea Cake came prancing around her
where she was and the song of the sigh flew out of the window and lit in the top
of the pine trees. Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl. Of course he wasn’t
dead. He could never be dead until she herself finished feeling and thinking.
The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall.” (Pg.
193) Janie finally found real love with her marriage to Tea Cake.

Although in the beginning of the book Janie was naïve about love, she
learned through her three marriages many lessons about love, including the major
lesson, that love actually existed. Janie’s view of love was of the pear tree.
The perfect harmony between the pear tree and its surroundings was what she
thought love was. Her marriages to Logan Killicks and Jody Starks failed to
fulfill her vision of love. Tea Cake and Janie went together like the pear