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Free Colleges – Setting in Their Eyes Were Watching God



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    Importance of Setting in Their Eyes Were Watching God In Zora Neale Hurston’s romantic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, two settings are contrasted to reinforce the author’s theme of a search for true love. The setting of Eatonville, Florida, where main character Janie experiences life as the mayor’s wife, is contrasted with the Florida Everglades, where Janie lives with Tea Cake in a much more relaxed atmosphere. Hurston describes Eatonville not in a negative way, but more as a place that is not beneficial to an independent woman like Janie. Janie Starks, the wife of the mayor, is sentenced to spend her days as a worker in the town store, hair tied up, and silent. She must deal with money and figures without being able to enjoy the “lying sessions” on the porch, or attending such impressive town events like the “muleogy.” To the reader, Eatonville represents all that is repressive in life. Janie’s nature is restricted not by the town itself, but by her status in the town. Contrasted with Eatonville is the Everglades or the “muck.” The muck is where Janie can be free. Her hair is allowed to hang down, and she can dance, sing, talk, and socialize with everyone from the Indians to the landowners. The muck is where Janie lives with Tea Cake, her true love, her “bee.” The muck symbolizes freedom and a relief from oppression that was experienced by Janie. The contrast of these two places reinforces the theme of a search for love and fulfillment. To see what an ideal situation for an independent woman like would be, Hurston must first show the reader what Janie cannot deal with. Hurston has her character Janie go on a quest, one that was begun the day she was forced to marry Logan Killucks. The contrast in the setting is similar to one between good and evil. Janie’s life with Joe fulfilled a need — she had no financial worries and was more than set for life. She had a beautiful white home, a neat lawn and garden, a successful husband, and lots of cash. Everything was clean, almost too clean. A sense of restraint is present in this setting, and this relates to the work as a whole due to the fact that this is the epitome of unhappiness for Janie. The muck, however, is filthy. The rich soil covers everything in sight, even the bare skin of its inhabitants.

    Free Colleges – Setting in Their Eyes Were Watching God. (2018, Feb 10). Retrieved from

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