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.
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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 tree and its surroundings. She learned that even though her first two marriages failed to fulfill her vision of love, she found love with Tea Cake and realized that there is love.
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