CER: Their Eyes Were Watching God
Directions: In CER format, compare and contrast Janie’s three marriages. What initially pulls her to each of the three men? How do they differ from one another? What does she learn from each experience? This will count as a TEST grade. Make sure you use evidence cited properly and sentence starters
Evidence #1
Evidence #2
Evidence #3
Reasoning #1
Reasoning #2
Reasoning #3

2 Answer

  • Answer:

    Logan Killicks

    Logan is Janie's first husband. He is unloving and too old for Janie. He treats Janie as if she were a possession like his mule. This guy actually cares about Janie in his own abusive way. Logan represents the old ways for black women, from her grandmother's time when a black woman was satisfied to play the lowest role in society.

    Joe Starks

    Joe is suave and ambitious. He represents a sense of freedom from Logan and her grandmother's life. Unfortunately she is treated more like a mule than Logan treated her. He represented empty dreams.

    Tea Cake

    Tea Cake seems to be more sensitive but he lacks direction, security and often common sense. He is sort of a character foil to Joe Starks.

    Really, none of them were ideal. Each brought their own storm to Janie's life. At least Tea Cake didn't regularly abuse her but I wouldn't consider any of them "good".

  • Answer:

    Janie, the heroine of Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, is often referred to as a feminist. Janie is frequently beaten down, silenced, overlooked, marginalized, and often violently assaulted throughout her relationships with the three main men in her life. Janie's feminine identity is strengthened by these episodes of disempowerment. She struggles at the hands of Logan, Jody, and Tea Cake, but she emerges stronger and more certain of her own identity with each marriage. Ironically, it is the moments of Janie's life that she is reluctant to be a feminist that make her an exemplar of feminist power.  

    Janie marries her first husband, Logan Killicks, not because she wants to be with him, but because she wants to impress her grandmother and hopes that she will finally grow to love him. Janie's choice to marry Logan is not necessarily irrational, but it is a sign of her giving up. Janie defers to the needs of others rather than fulfilling her self wants and focusing on maintaining her integrity. Her marriage pressures her to make even more sacrifices. Logan, a well-intentioned yet controlling man, wants to dominate Janie. He declares her spoiled and demands that she work alongside him in the fields. Janie is often exposed to the mental oppression of being stuck in an affectionless marriage, in addition to the attempted physical abuse. We can see through this that Janie's first marriage was marked by surrender and injustice; but, it is precisely these circumstances that gave her the strength to get out of this toxic environment. Janie musters the confidence to leave behind the only home she has ever known because she is undeniably tired of Logan and his domineering ways—something she almost surely would not have had the confidence or self-assurance to do if she hadn't married Logan in the first place.  

    Janie's marriage to Jody Starks, her second partner, is more substantial and difficult than her marriage to Logan. It's much more harmful. Jody, who is both strong and charming, is putting growing pressure on his wife. He prohibits her from interacting in front of large groups; he dislikes it when she socializes with other men; he requests that she cover her pretty hair; he chastises her when he thinks she is underperforming at work; and he beats her when he is angered. Readers looking for proof of Janie's unwavering feminism may be disappointed by her inability to put up with Jody. Despite occasional outbursts of disobedience, she often acts like the submissive wife Jody desires. For years, she has obeyed his instructions, kept her mouth shut, and waited after he has hit her. Hurston, on the other hand, believes that Janie's pain has endowed her with exceptional courage in Chapter 8. Jody is held down by the weight of her anger and she eventually gives a voice to her emotions and tells him what she thinks of him. Years of mistreatment have given Janie the will to stand up to her oppressor. Since she knows what it's like to be crushed by a man, Janie loves her single life even more than she would have if she had never known true suffering. She is also a stronger person overall.  

    Janie has a well-rounded relationship with Tea Cake that is marked by mental and physical disarray. Janie and Tea Cake are just not a good combination. Janie can only truly understand that Tea Cake isn't the best guy for her because she has gone through two terrible marriages. Despite Janie's satisfaction with Tea Cake, Hurston makes it clear that she has yet to find the right guy. Tea Cake vanishes. He is a gambler. He throws wild parties with the money he took from Janie. He has a habit of flirting with other ladies. He also beats Janie to show his dominance. Tea Cake's relationship with Janie is difficult and perplexing. Despite Tea Cake's many shortcomings, Hurston forces us to admit that Janie is genuinely content with him. Furthermore, Hurston excludes the chance that Janie has regressed, returning to the meek creature she was with Logan and Jody. Janie's ability to fight back with Tea Cake in order to save herself show that she has risen in strength and independence.  

    Hurston constantly challenges popular perceptions of what it means to be a powerful, competent woman. She indicates that success does not always entail one partner, children, and a settled life by giving her heroine three husbands and ending her novel with Janie alone and material. Janie suggests that great power is often the direct product of true vulnerability by depicting the flashes of independence that accompany her episodes of subservience.


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