My take on the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
Their Eyes were Watching God Monologue The novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, begins with Janie returning to Eatonville, a flourishing colored town she and her previous husband, Joe Starks, had practically built and raised from the dusty village theyd seen. However, Janies true journey began in a much different place: rural West Florida where her grandmother, Nanny, had raised her. In her hometown, Janie had been raised with many white children, and had come to believe that she herself was white, becoming severely disillusioned when she saw a picture of herself and realized she had a much darker complexion than that of her friends and neighbors. Mah grandma raised me. Mah grandma and de white folks she worked wid. She had a house out in de back-yard and dats where Ah wuz born. They was quality white folks up dere in west Florida (9).It is only when Janie is forced to marry Logan Killicks and moves to his 60-acre farm that she experiences some of the outside world. However, her being free from the controlling clutches of her grandmother did not guarantee Janies freedom; Logan Killicks began to control his wife, ordering her out of her rightful place in the house and into the fields so she could help farm. It was a lonesome place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had ever been. The house was absent of flavor too. But anyhow Janie went on inside to wait for love to begin (22).Later, a man by the name of Joe Starks, who Janie thrusts her pear-tree-dreams upon, whisks Janie away from Logans farm and brings her through the Green Cove Springs and Maitland to Eatonville, a small colored community that had just begun to form. Joe noted the scant dozen of shame-faced houses scattered in the sand and palmetto roots and said, God, they call this a town? Why, taint nothing but a raw place in de woods (34) He then goes to quickly buyanother 200 acres of land to build the village into a blooming town. Janie spends over twenty years of her unhappily married life with Joe in Eatonville, where her husband has become the beloved mayor of the town, and she, the untouchable and unsociable Mrs. Mayor Starks, losing her identity and hiding her true feelings within. The town had a basketful of feelings good and bad about Joes positions and possessions, but none had the temerity to challenge him (50).After Joes death, Tea Cake, a man over ten years her junior, charms Janie into running away with him to Jacksonville where Tea Cake has been promised work. Janie finally feels and experiences the freedom she has long since desired and wished for upon her pear tree. Later, the two travel to the muck also known as the Everglades, a beautiful place with the Big Lake Okechohee and many fields of lush and green crops, that Tea Cake describes as having big beans, big cane, big weeds, big everything (129). A devastating hurricane hits, destroying Tea Cake and Janies home with A huge barrier of the makings of the dike to which the cabins had been added was rolling and tumbling forward. Ten feet higher and as far as they could see the muttering wall advanced before the braced-up waters like a road crusher on a cosmic scale. The two hundred miles an hour wind had loosed his chains. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel (161-162). Before the two are stranded as refugees on Palm Beach,Tea Cake ultimately meets his doom when his attempt to save Janie from a rabid dog is thwarted when Tea Cake himself is bitten and infected with rabies. However, unsuspecting of the fact, Janie and Tea Cake return to the Everglades to rebuild their home and return to the life as they knew it. It is only when Janie kills Tea Cake in self-defense that she returns to Eatonville where the novel was set in the very beginning, for the memories of Tea Cake in the muck were too much for her to bear, now that she knew he was gone from her forever.