"Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a novel in which Zora Neale Hurston, the author, presents the main ideas through the use of fictional elements such as symbolism, setting, metaphor, and other figurative means. About chapter five to eight, Hurston applied several techniques in communicating to the readers. In chapter five, "She must look on herself as the bell-cow, the other women were the gang" (pg.41) is a metaphor which describes how Janie was supposed to work. She was expected to behave as if she were of a higher class than others. Being Joe's wife, it reveals how she was different from other women and hence compared with cow bell which is termed to be superior.
Chapter six also expresses sympathy to the reader. From the text, "Janie loved the conversation, and sometimes she thought up good stories on the mule, but Joe had forbidden her to indulge. He didn't want her talking after such trashy people" (pg.54). The phrase draws social psychology and informs the reader that the author aimed at depicting discrimination and the domination of inequality. As evident, Janie, the protagonist, looks outside of herself for fulfillment thus bringing the idea of self-actualization. Also, the central urban setting represents a space with corruption and vice. When Janie moves from her rural setting to urban, she starts rasping under her relationship. She loses her innocence and discovers herself with the ability to cheat.
Dialogue also plays a major role in artwork. It helps in depicting the character's actions and emotions in literature. It also helps the reader to realize the character traits of a particular character. In the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God", chapter six contains a dialogue among three men at the store lampoon and Mrs. Tony who is a townswoman. Due to her impudent behaviors, she says that the husband should beat her. In the dialogue, Janie defends women by speaking against men. According to Janie, she describes men with ignorance and pretense in their action against women. At the same time, they claim to be knowing everything about women in society. To a surprise, Joe silences her instantly. From the dialogue, we realize the theme of gender inequality and a male-dominated society.
For instance, when Joe comes to look for the pig's feet that were expected to arrive the previous day, he blames Janie when he realized there were none. The situation ends up in a fight and Janie was not even associated with the shipment. It is a clear picture of discrimination for women in society. They are always blamed despite their innocence. Joe could go to the extent of slapping Janie when she once messed up his dinner. Janie's dialogue with Joe after fight depicts the behaviors of Joe in that, he keeps telling Janie what to do instead of allowing her to think and work for herself.
The mule is symbolic of Janie. At the start of chapter six, it serves to depict the strenuous relationship between Joe and Janie. As evident from the novel, Janie is struggling with her relationship and she is forced to change behaviors for self-fulfillment. Like the mule, she is bought by different men. So, the mules not only represent Janie but also, other women like Janie who are treated strangely. In actual words, they are treated just a little better than animals. The author shows the first mule when Janie gets married to Joe Starks. Due to the theme of self-actualization, the mule also represents any black woman with struggles to become independent in her life. the novel contains a lot of life lessons and hence the symbol sends a message to the reader too. It is a show on how women in society are considered by their husbands.
On page 50, there is an expression of paradox "They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because they bowed down." The quote creates an inner understanding of how two concepts interweaved. It relays the theme of success as a result of assertion and action-taking. In relation to Janie, she admired a better life and she got one because the townsfolk admired Jody's charisma. She allowed him to alter everything to bring a benefit to the town without any incident of opposition.
In my point of view, the narrator is trying to show diversity in relationships between rural and urban space. As evident, Janie acquires some epic hair that has the ability to drive men wild. For instance, Joe was attracted by the luscious locks and hence symbolic for a modern society full of obstacles. Janie's lifestyle has completely changed, and she even has the capability of venturing into men's territories. This is symbolic through the gun, a sign of masculinity and destruction. The author shows the necessity of innocence for one to become humane in society. Also, the author defines the allegations made to the innocent people in society and considers it to be inhuman.
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