In 1937 Richard Wright critiqued a novel by Zora Neale Hurston s Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which he stated, Her novel carries no theme, no message, no thought. The modern reader does believe that the novel contains a theme, message, and thought. There are many themes expressed through out the novel, which send massages and thoughts. Many people believe that jealousy, love, and fulfillment are themes expressed widely in the novel. Jealousy spoils positive hope might be on of the more common themes in this novel. During Janie s life she searched for love but what was often encounter were obstacles, although when Janie was on the road to fulfillment she discovered it is a very long walk.
Jealousy is part of everyone s life; it is encounter even when one does not see anything to be jealous about. Joe Starks (Jody) was Janie s second husband and also the Mayor of Eatonville. Even though Jody was the Mayor everyone like his wife better, realizing this he instructed Janie not to associate with more than a few people at time, when he was not around. If Janie did the slightest thing wrong Jody would pounce on her as if he was a cougar. One night Janie was asked by Mixon, a neighbor of theirs to cut a plug of tobacco. Janie cut the plug incorrectly, to tease Janie about it Mixon shouted, Looka heah, Brother Mayor, whut yo wife done took and done. Uh woman and uh knife-no kind of uh knife, don t b long tuhgether. Jody ran over to the counter and cut another plug Mixon while doing this he insulted Janie about her looks. That night Janie could not accept any more insults for Jody; instead she started to belittle him. Jody was very jealous that Janie did not grow old as fast as he did, so Jody constantly picked on Janie s appearance. Jody did not get mad at her he just was jealous of her because the town s people in the store took her she over his. Jody s jealousy of Janie s popularity spoils her happiness while she was married to him. Jealousy is one of the many obstacles that stood in her way to reach her goal of fulfillment.
Love is another obstacle that needed to be passed on the way to fulfillment. When Janie was just a teenager her grandmother married her to an older man named Logan Killicks. Janie soon found that there was no love in his heart for her. After being married to Logan for a few months Janie ran away with Joe Starks, and moves to Eatonville, Florida. About twenty years later Joe died and Janie marries a young man named Vergible Woods (TeaCake) and moves to the Muck. There, Janie and TeaCake make a life for themselves by planting and cultivating beans. During the day TeaCake missed Janie so much that he would snick back to their home to see her. The next day Janie decide to go and pick beans beside TeaCake that way they would be together all day long. Janie had finally found someone that she was willing to spend the rest of her life with and not feel that she is throwing her life away being with him. Janie took a very big risk in marrying TeaCake, but that was an obstacle that had to be pass if she was to live a full life.
Fulfillment can be found completing the simplest thing, but for Janie to find fulfillment it took her most of her life. At the end of the novel Janie realizes that the person who made her life worth living will always be close to her heart. Thinking to herself, Janie enlightens the reader by thinking this, He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking, the kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see. The person Janie is referring to is TeaCake, he is her world, and she was his. By finding TeaCake Janie s life was fulfilled. During her life Janie sent her soul out to find him but now since TeaCake died, Janie called her soul back so they could relive all her memories of him together.
Richard Wright might think that this book was written for a white audience, although many perceive that this novel can be related to a multicultural audience. Even though, Wright believes that there is no theme or moral expressed in Hurston s book, many readers do believe that the moral of true love leads a person down the road to fulfillment. In every road of life there are obstacles to be passed, some people just stand there not trying, others take the challenge to pass it. While it may take a while to reach the end of the road, finding someone whom you love and who loves you back helps on some of the obstacles.
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