Learning Process of Life
For generations marriage has been accepted as a bond between two people. However, the ideals involved in marriage differ by the individuals involved. The book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston clearly demonstrates these differences. In the book a girl by the name Janie is raised by her grandmother and then married off by her grandmother. Originally all Janie knows of marriage and love is what her grandmother tells her. As Janie moves on in her life and re-marries, she finds that everybody has their own idea towards the role of their spouses in marriage. Over time Janie begins to develop her own ideas and ideals. In Their Eyes Were Watching God each principle character has their own perceptions towards marriage.
The first ideas that Janie was exposed to was those of her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny saw that Janie was entering womanhood and she didn't want Janie to experience what her mother went through. So Nanny set out to marry her as soon as possible. When Janie asked about love, she was told that marriage makes love and she will find love after she marries Logan. Nanny believed that love was second to stability and security. Only after those first two criteria were satisfied then and only then could one experience love. Nanny felt that a young girl like Janie was too young to make decisions for herself, so when she caught Janie exploring her womanhood Nanny felt that she needed to marry Janie as quickly as possible so that she could find love in a safe a secure environment. Nanny has her own ideals when it comes to marriage and Janie will soon learn that everyone's are different.
Second, Janie sees Logan Killicks' perception of marriage. In the beginning it appears to Janie that Logan is a very nice gentleman, who is constantly treating her well. However as time goes on, Janie see Logan's "true colors." Logan feels that if they are both going to live together and share their lives then they should do an equal amount of work. Logan soon puts Janie to work and treats her more like a mule than a wife. Logan didn't want a wife out of marriage; he wanted a pack animal. Also, love doesn't seem to be incorporated in Logan's definition of marriage. As Janie said "Ah know 'tain't nothin' dere." Logan didn't see marriage in terms of love, he only saw it in terms of free labor.
After leaving Logan in search of love Janie finds Jody Starks. Jody Starks is a thriving politician with a hard work ethic. He says he loves Janie and even treats her the way a queen should be treated. Jody keeps Janie looking prim and proper in the house and store. Jody truly believes that women should be seen and not heard. Jody believes that in a marriage that the man is boss and the wife should listen to him. He is a true politician; on the outside he appears kind and gentle but from within he is corrupt. Janie still can't find love and continues her search.
The final person that Janie attempts to find love in is Tea Cake Woods. Tea Cake comes in a rescues Janie from her misery after the death of Jody. It is here that Janie finally finds what true love is. Tea Cake's idea of marriage is a mutual relationship where he would prefer to support Janie. However when times are rough Janie willingly helps Tea Cakes in the fields. Tea Cake believes in being completely honest with Janie and doesn't try to hold anything from her. Also, like Nanny Tea Cake sought protection for Janie he didn't want anything to happen to her; and in the end he laid down his life for her. Tea Cake's perception of marriage is different from the others but it is still his own ideals.
And the last person who has ideas about marriage is Janie herself. In the beginning she felt that marriage made love. But soon she found that to be untrue. In each of her marriages she found that marriage expectations were different for everyone. In fact Janie's parting word's were, "you must tell 'em date love Anita smoothen' la ugh grindstone data's de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tub everything it touch. Love is la de sea. It's ugh moving' thing, but still and all, it takes shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore." Janie found that marriage changes with the participants and you must find one with who you are compatible.
Everyone has separate ideas of what marriage should be. As Janie learned marriage is what you make of it. Love can only be found when your beliefs coincide with another's ideas. Even today people find out the hard way that they are not compatible and that everyone's perception of marriage is different. This can be seen everyday among couples who separate and among others whose marriages last the rest of their lives. Life is a learning process and we must take the bad with the good.
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