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T. S. Elliot writes: what we call a beginning is often the end/ And to make an end is to make a beginning. / The end is where we start from. In order to begin self realization a person must first conquer a hindrance in their path.
This idea is used to portray the nature of Janie's exploration in There Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Through the use of style, setting, and symbolism, the reader can interpret that the beginning of ones self-fulfillment comes from successfully overcoming ones Throughout the novel Hurston utilizes the horizon as a symbol representing Janie's dreams in order to reveal the realizations she comes to which enable her to start her self fulfillment. At one point while she is married to Logan Killicks, Janie realizes something about her marriage to Logan Killicks; She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. She knew now that marriage did not make love.
Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman. (25) Janie had expected marriage to grow into love, but her dream did not come to be. Hurston compares Janie's unfulfilled dream to how the sun rises above the horizon every morning to a new day- the sun shedding light on the her dream (or horizon). The purpose of this being to expose the importance of revelation of discovering her dreams and achieving them. Without the failure of her marriage to Logan Killicks, Janie would not have know what to search for in her life.
After Janie leaves with Jodie to escape her marriage to Logan Killicks, she recognizes a familiarity about her new marriage, They sat on the boarding house porch and saw the sun plunge into the same crack in the earth from which the night emerged. (33) From the experience she has gained in her first marriage, Janie knows that she does not want another like Logan Killicks, but at the same time she knows she is watching the same pattern emerge in her new relationship with Jodie Starks. Janie is slowly coming to an understanding about herself and what her dreams are. She molds her dream according to her experiences. At the conclusion of Janie's marriage to Jodie and his death, as well as the beginning of the Tea Cake Era, Janie has another revelation about her dream and her horizon, He tipped his hat at the door and was off with the briefest good night. So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day. (99) Janie now knows what she is looking for in a marriage.
This time, Hurston uses the moon instead of the sun (with Tea Cake representing the moon and Jodie representing the sun). Jodie has set and Tea Cake has now risen to stand in his place. Hurston was able to effectively portray the idea of Janie's learning experiences, or marriages affecting her dreams through the use of the horizon as symbol for her un achieved goals. The reader can have an understanding of where Janie began and ended her accomplishment through the framing style. Zora Neale Hurston begins her novel at the end of the story, where Janie is assembling her experience to Phoeby, Its hard for me to understand what you [Janie] mean, de way you tell it. And then again Ahm hard of understanding at times. / Naw, taint nothin lak you [Phoeby] might think.
So taint no use in me [Janie] telling you somethin unless Ah give you de understanding to go long wid it. (7) Hurston uses the framing style to give the novel better effect in getting theme across. She starts her novel at the end when Janie has returned from the Everglades, setting up the story line of Janie returning with insight, only obtained at the end, to share with Pheoby. Hurston has Janie begin the story of her life as a flashback at the end of her lifes journey, Ah know exactly what Ah got to tell yuh, but its hard to know where to start at. Ah aint never seen mah papa... Mah Grandma raised me. (8) Hurston has Janie begin a story within a story. The style Hurston uses helps mold the theme into place.
The reader is being told right along with Pheoby (about Janie's life) and therefore can understand the plot more easily. When Janie concludes her story, the reader has a better understanding of Janie, lifes dreams, and Pheoby as she responds; Ah done growth ten feet higher jus listening tuh you, Janie. Ah aint satisfied wid myself no mo. (192) At the conclusion of Janie's narrative, the beginning of the novel is again brought in play as we are transported back to the present. Through the framing style of Zora Neale Hurston, Janie has come to her self-realization at the end of her life and her story, hence proving that the theme holds strong with the presence Hurston's writing style.
Hurston uses the setting to bring further insight to the reader as we are transported from Eatonville to the Everglades, back to Eatonville in order to provide Janie the chance to live and grow. Janie begins her life in Eatonville with Jodie Starks It was early in the afternoon when they got there... It is a whole heap littler than Ah thought. Janie admitted. (34) Janie begins her life in Eatonville - the first part of her life without her Grandmother and where she chooses to do things.
She hasnt seen much of the world; only little towns around Eatonville; and so she begins her journey. In the middle of Janie's story, she explains how she left after Jodie's death to live with Tea Cake in the Everglades. To Janie's eyes, everything in the Everglades was big and new. (129) Janie needed to get away from Eatonville in order to have new experiences and meet different people, which are necessities of Janie discovering her self and eventually obtaining self-fulfillment. If she had stayed in Eatonville, she would have remained the same, bored, lifeless Janie.
When Janie returns to Eatonville she is a changed woman, ready to begin her self realization. Now, dats how everything wuz, Pheoby, jus lak Ah told yuh. So Ahm back home agin and Ahm satisfied tuh be heah. (191) Janie has finished her story and conquered her query, and she is now ready to begin life with her self attainment as she lives the rest of her life out in the peaceful setting of Eatonville. Hurston's use of the repetitive setting proved valuable in the perception of Janie's accomplishment found only with a cycle of locations. In Zora Neale Hurston's novel, There Eyes Were Watching God, the theme is that the beginning of self fulfillment is, in fact, the vanquish ment of ones adversities. Hurston proves this theme throughout her novel by the employment of style, setting, and symbolism.
Without dealing with obstacles one cannot understand the accomplishment that ensues them, and therefore would not be able to begin the pursuit of happiness or self attribution until the end of her quandary; hence further validating T. S. Elliot's quote as Bibliography: none
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Research essay sample on Zora Neale Hurston Eyes Were Watching God