Their Eyes were watching god dialectical journals Essay Sample
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Their Eyes were watching god dialectical journals Essay Sample
What is important about this passage?
What is its effect or purpose?
“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come…. That is the life of men.”
This paragraph is the introduction to the whole novel. Usually an author would use some background information about the main character, or maybe even the time period, but not this one. This author chose to introduce her book with a long metaphor about dreams, men’s in specific. This metaphor talks of how the dreams of man are like ships on the horizon, always in sight but never in reach. She implies that no man has control over his dreams, and that no matter what they do; it is only by chance that they will achieve these dreams. Another important part of this paragraph is that “Time” is capitalized, as if it were a person mocking the Watcher by showing them what they can never achieve, and aging them so that they will never even have a chance.[ “Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they want to forget. The dream is the truth. They act and do things accordingly.”
This paragraph is written in comparison to the first. It speaks of the dreams of women rather than men. It states that women’s dreams are the truth, and they act based on that truth. That they have no control over their dreams, but at the same time, they have complete control, because their dreams are reality and no matter what they try to remember or forget, the truth is the only dream they know and their dreams will be truth. “Seeing the woman as
she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. . . Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.”
In this paragraph the author speaks of gossipers, watching as a woman (Janie) walks down the road near them. The paragraph is almost entirely composed of metaphors to describe the stored up hatred and – – – envy that the onlookers found at the sight of Janie. The author states how the words coming out of their mouths burned, and the laugher composed tools of killing, on can only imagine the harsh words that were coming out of the onlookers’ mouths. The “mass cruelty” and abuse spewed from the tongues of the gossipers shown in the metaphors seems so much more impactful and hurtful towards Janie then what words alone could have done. “Phoeby hurried on off with a covered bowl in her hands. . . Janie must be round that side”
When leaving the crowd of abusive, gossiping women, Phoeby hurries off with a covered bowl. The women that were just left behind didn’t know the true intentions of Phoeby, and this is shown very well by the author. In the paragraph, it says that when she left, Pheoby’s back was “pelted with unasked questions”; the answers of which the enquirers hoped were cruel and strange, implying that the women left behind thought Phoeby was going to further abuse Janie. This however was not the case, Phoeby went to find Janie and give her some rice from the covered bowl, and comfort her saying that “so long as they have a name to gnaw on they don’t care whose it is, and what about, ‘specially if they can make it sound like evil.”(page 6) “Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, and things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.”
In the first paragraph of chapter two, Janie compares her life to a great tree. This metaphor Is very prevalent throughout the next few chapters, and is referred back to on multiple occasions. A tree’s existence consists of seasons. Tree’s bloom in the spring and wither in the fall, but the tree will not die until time has withered away its entire body. This, according to Janie is much like her life. “She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree . . . Now they emerged and quested about her consciousness.”
This is the first reference made back to Janie’s life being like a tree. Although I have selected this paragraph only, this detailed description of the pear tree and the air around it continues for several pages. Janie is fascinated by this pear tree, such a simple thing, looked over by most, and goes into a detailed mental description of the entire thing. This relates back to the first paragraph of the chapter, when Janie compares herself to a great tree. She states how the beauty of the tree ‘stirred her tremendously” and that it was like a “song forgotten in a past existence and remembered again”. The fragile beauty and “snowy virginity” was much like her past years, impacting her deeper than she could even imagine. “’ Ah ain’t never seen mah papa. And ah didn’t know ‘im if ah did . . .’Dat’s you, Alphabet, don’t you know yo’ own self?”
This portion of the book is mainly dialogue between Phoeby and Janie. Janie is talking about her childhood years, and how she grew up. As a young girl she never knew her father, never even remembered seeing his face. Her mother left her at a very young as well, and she was left with her grandmother to take care of her. At the time she lived and went to school with many white children, she was made fun of and abused by the other kids, but she always thought that she was one of them, a white kid. It wasn’t until she saw a
picture of her and some other people that she realized she was African-American. When she realized this she was 6 years old, and it was funny for the other people to hear, but for a young girl with no parents, she had to be strong and be herself. How could she do that if she didn’t even know who she was? “And ah can’t die easy thinkin’ maybe de menfolks white or black is makin’ a spit cup outa you: Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy, Janie, Ah’m a cracked plate.”
This short quote comes from a long section of dialogue between Janie and her Grandmother, Nanny. After a long emotional talk about Janie’s life and how much Nanny wants her to do well, Nanny compares herself to a cracked plate and tells Janie to let her down easy. Although the rest of the storyline is still unknown to me, I believe this to be forshadowing the death of Nanny, the only real role model left for Janie. “There are years that ask questions and years that answer. . . Did marriage compel love like the sun the day?
At the end of this paragraph, the author makes a statement, then asks a question. The odd part about this is no direct connection or transition from this into the next paragraph. Although it may not have connected to the chapter, it did state briefly the main idea for the chapter. This seems to be a pattern occurring thus far in the book. Hurston will make a powerful statement, or ask a question to introduce the main idea or theme for that chapter, and then actually continue the story in the second paragraph. “ He chops all the wood he think ah wants and den he totes it inside de kitchen for me . . . but when dey got tuh bow down tuh love, they soom straightens up.”
This section contains a metaphor describing Janie’s new husband, Logan Killicks. Janie went to Nanny asking when the love part of her marriage
would appear, and Nanny assumes he beat her. This was not the case however, and Janie was quick to say that he did just the opposite. He would chop all the wood she needed for the day and more, and carry it in for her, and does other things for her as well. Nanny uses imagery here to show that Logan doesn’t love her equally, but is kissing her feet, and that loving equally is natural but kissing the feet is difficult and he will soon have to straighten up. “There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.”
This couple of sentences is very impactful in the description of Janie in her current situation. The sadness she is currently experiencing during this part is deep. The layers of conscious and subconscious thought described by Hurston intensify the feeling of depression and really increase the weight of Janie’s emotions. “She knew that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.”
This is a direct reference to the first paragraph of chapter one. In that introduction Hurston says that women’s dreams are truth and they live accordingly. Janie has discovered her first dream of a happy marriage was dead, and that was the truth, so she was now a woman. Now she must live her life accordingly.