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Courtney Henry Dr. Gates English 204 March 13, 2014 Different Forms of a Relationship In Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston shows her readers three types of marriages in her novel. Throughout her novel she represents herself through Janie and her marriages to Logan, Joe, and Tea cake. In Their Eyes Were Watching God both good and bad relationships are portrayed. Hurston shows what Nanny thinks a relationship should be through Logan, what Janie thinks a relationship should be through Joe, and then an actual loving relationship through Tea Cake. Nanny has a very different idea of relationship than Janie does. After Nanny sees Janie kissing Johnny Taylor she decided that Janie should be married off to Logan Killicks, at this time Janie is only 16 years old. Logan is a wealthy middle-aged farmer who owns 60 acres of land. Janie tells Nanny that she isnt ready to be married, that she isnt a woman yet and doesnt know anything about having a husband. Nanny tells Janie Whut Ah seen just now is plenty for me, Ah dont want no trash nigger, no breath-and-britches, lak Johnny Taylor usin yo body to wipe his foots on (13). This is where it really starts to become clear that Nanny wants to marry Janie off to a wealth man so that she doesnt have to worry about her anymore. Nanny just wants to know that Janie is going to have a better life than her or her daughter had, and to Nanny that means marrying her off to Logan. Janie doesnt see it this way she wants to be in love and cant even picture herself with an ugly guy like Logan. To this Nanny says So you dont want to marry off decent like, do yuh? You just wants to hug and kiss and feel around with first one man

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and then another, huh? You wants to make me suck de same sorrow yo mama did, eh?...(1314). Here Nanny is telling Janie that she needs to marry Logan or she will end up like her mom who got raped and gave Janie to Nanny to take care of. This is how Nanny really gets Janie to agree to marry Logan. Not after Janie marries Logan she comes to Nanny for advice and Nanny says You and Logan been fussin? Lawd, Ah know dat grassgut, liver-lipted nigger aint done and beat mah baby already! Ahll take a stick and salivate im! (22). Logan and Janie have only been married for around two months and Nanny already thinks that Logan is hitting her. This shows that Nanny expects Logan to hit Janie but thinks it is too soon for him to have done it. Janie really comes to Nanny because she is concerned that she doesnt love Logan Janie says she wants to be able to want Logan back like how he wants her. Nanny tells Janie "If you don't want him, you sho oughta. Heah you is wid de onliest organ in town, amongst colored folks, in yo' parlor. Got a house bought and paid for and sixty acres uh land right on de big road and . . . Lawd have mussy! Dat's de very prong all us black women gits hung on. Dis love! (23). This really shows how Nanny thinks a relationship should be, she doesnt think that love is important all that matters is how much money and land the man has. While Janie is married to Logan she meets Joe Starks who tells Janie that he is headed to Florida where there is a town created by colored people. Joe asks Janie where a her husband is and when Janie tells him that Logan went to go buy another mule so that she could plow too he was appalled. Joe then tells Janie You behind a plow! You aint got no mo business wid uh plow than uh hog is got wid uh holiday! You aint got no business cuttin up no seed ptaters neither. A pretty doll-

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baby lak you is made to sit on de porch and rock and fan yoself and eat ptaters dat other folks plant just special for you (29). Janie falls in love with the idea of not having to work like Logan wants her too. Janie falls even more in love with the idea of being with Joe when he tells her that he is a man with principles and that she doesnt know what it is live to be treated like a lady and that he wants to show her (29). After Janie leaves Logan to marry Joe she realizes that this marriage isnt really what she wants either. Joe starts to become very controlling of Janie and starts to tell her what she can and cant do. Such as when the men gather on the porch and tell stories and joke around, Joe doesnt allow Janie to join in the conversations. Even though Janie loved the conversations Joe had forbidden her to indulge. He didnt want her talking after such trashy people (53-54). This is just the start of the ways that Joe begins to control Janie. When Joe has Janie start running the store he makes her keep her hair covered at all times even though Janie doesnt like to. But Jody was set on it. Her hair was NOT going to show in the store. It didnt seem sensible at all. That was because Joe never told Janie how jealous he was (55). Joe was jealous because he saw other men touching or figuratively wallowing in her hair. Sometimes jealousy is healthy in a relationship but with Joe and Janie jealousy pulls them apart. When Joe starts to get older and his body starts to look older too, he then becomes the type of man to verbally attack Janie to make himself feel better. "I god amighty! A woman stay round uh store till she get old as Methusalem and still can't cut a little thing like a plug of tobacco! Don't stand dere rollin' yo' pop eyes at me wid yo' rump hangin' nearly to yo' knees (78). Joe makes this comment in the store in front of other people from the town about how Janie is looking old. Before this Janie just always took everything Joe said and wouldnt stand up for herself but after Joe made his comment she had enough. Janie told Joe "Stop mixin' up mah doings wid mah looks, Jody.

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When you git through tellin' me how tuh cut uh plug uh tobacco, then you kin tell me whether mah behind is on straight or not (78). Joe acted like he didnt understand why Janie was so upset with him insulting her looks because she isnt a young girl anymore. "Naw, Ah ain't no young gal no mo' but den Ah ain't no old woman neither. Ah reckon Ah looks mah age too. But Ah'm uh woman every inch of me, and Ah know it. Dat's uh whole lot more'n you kin say. You big-bellies round here and put out a lot of brag, but 'tain't nothin' to it but yo' big voice. Humph! Talkin"bout me lookin' old! When you pull down yo' britches, you look lak de change uh life (79). After Janie told Joe this it was pretty much the end of their relationship. Joe moved out of their bedroom and after awhile he got really sick, Joe was dying and there was nothing that could be done to help him. Even on his death bed when Janie goes to talk to Joe instead of remembering all of the good times they had he says, "Shut up! Ah wish thunder and lightnin' would kill yuh! (86). Joe and Janies marriage wasnt by any means a healthy relationship, but after Joe died Janie meet Tea Cake who finally made her happy. Tea Cake treats Janie a lot differently than Logan or Joe ever did. The first time that Tea Cake and Janie ever meet he asks her to play checkers and when she said she didnt know how he decided to teach her. This made Janie feel good about herself she found herself glowing inside. Somebody wanted her to play. Somebody thought it natural for her to play. That was even nice (95-96). This was the start of Tea Cakes and Janies relationship. Tea cake thought of Janie as equal to him he showed her that her loved her and flirted with her whenever he came in town to see her. When Tea Cake comes over and cooks diner for Janie and she falls asleep, when she wakes up and finds Tea Cake combing her hair. Janie tells Tea Cake that she should go to bed and he tells

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her "Naw, you ain't sleepy, Mis' Janie. You jus' want me tuh go. You figger Ah'm uh rounder and uh pimp and you done wasted too much time talkin' wid me (104). This is when Janie finds out that Tea Cake is worried about what she thinks of him because he likes her. Not long after this Tea Cake and Janie get married and move to Jacksonville but Janie doesnt tell Tea Cake about all of the money she has in the bank or the 200 dollars that she has on her. One morning Janie wakes up and finds out that Tea Cake took the 200 dollars. When he comes back and tells her what he did with the money she becomes more concerned with the fact that she thinks he thinks that Janie is ugly. "You musta thought yo' wife was powerful ugly. Dem ugly women dat you paid two dollars not to come in, could git tuh de door. You never even 'lowed me tuh git dat close." She pouted (204). This is when Janie realizes that she doesnt care what people will think she does trust Tea Cake. Tea Cake promises to pay back all the money that he took from Janie and after he does Tea Cake told Janie "Put dat two hundred back wid de rest, Janie. Mah dice. Ah no need no assistance tuh help me feed mah woman. From now on, you gointuh eat whutever mah money can buy yuh and wear de same. When Ah ain't got nothin' you don't git nothin' (124). So even though Tea Cake knows how much money Janie really has he wants to be the one that provides for her. Tea Cake looks at Janie as his equal and anything that he thinks he thinks she should know he teaches her. "Oh, you needs tuh learn how. 'Tain't no need uh you not knowin' how tuh handle shootin' tools. Even if you didn't never find no game, it's always some trashy rascal dat needs uh good killin (130). This shows that Tea cake really wants Janie to be able to do anything that he can do, he loves to be able to teach her new things and Janie loves that he shows her how to do things. Unlike with Logan and Joe, Janie actually likes to work with Tea Cake. He told her that he got lonely out in the fields so she started to work beside him. In this relationship jealousy was a good thing Janie was jealous of a girl named Nunki and

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Tea Cake is jealous of Mrs. Turners brother. In the case of Nunki it showed Tea Cake how much Janie really loved him and how she wanted to make sure no one else was ever going to have him. Before Mrs. Turners brother showed up in town Tea Cake had never hit Janie but since he was jealous he thought he had to. Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss. (147). The only reason he did hit her was to show that he owned her and that no one else could have her. Even though all of these relationships are very different they all have similar qualities. Tea Cake and Janies relationship was the best out of the three because there was passion, emotion, and love in their relationship. Zora Neale Hurston makes it very clear throughout Their Eyes Were Watching God what good and bad relationships are to her.

Work Cited Neale Hurston, Zora. Their Eyes Were Watching Gog. New York:HarperCollins, 1937. Print.