Their Eyes Were Watching God Their Eyes Were Watching God question

Does the movie capture the themes of the book?
Christina Lear Christina Jun 11, 2012 04:01AM
In her introduction to the film adaptation of this book, producer Oprah Winfrey says that she thinks that Hurston would be very proud to see the film. But does the film really capture the themes Hurston wanted to convey or is it oversimplified?

I asked my high school students to consider this question as we read the book and watched the film concurrently. Some of them will be posting their response here, and we hope you will join in our dialogue!

jalandra (last edited Jun 11, 2012 04:48AM ) Jun 11, 2012 04:46AM   2 votes
Relationships in Novel their eyes are watching god

Through our lives as we grow older we imagine ourselves falling in love. We picture ourselves growing old with the one we love, getting married or even having kids. Sometimes when we fall in love we often idealize someone as our true love and make them appear as they are really not and I believe that this book shows this. Many teens often think that love is just perfect as they had imagined until they experience it. Then, when something bad happens in a the relationship that they are in they think to themselves wondering what did they do wrong. One of the main points that I believe that Hurston was trying to prove was what a good relationships was and knowing what you want in relationships. She is showing that love is based on experienced and not on imagination.

When Janie is young she thinks that love is a fairytale and that it just happens. She shows this when she says ,” Oh to be a pear tree----any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!”(11) She compares herself to a pear tree and wishes that she had kissing bees (men) flying and sucking nectar out of the flowers in bloom (loving her)on the pear tree. She also believes that love just happens when she sees this,”She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom.” This makes her think “So this was a marriage!” Janie is is in true love in her imagination and she sees a boy walking on the road. She runs off and kisses him. Nanny sees this and makes her marry Logan. Janie doesn't want to marry Logan but does it hoping that she will fall instantly I love with him after they get married like the bees in the pear tree and she shows this by saying , “Ah wants things to be sweet wid marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think” (19). They get married and she doesn't fall in love with him. She shows this by running back to Nanny saying ,”But ah wants tuh want him sometimes.” Janie tries to force herself to love him but she can't so she runs off with Joe hoping that love was still possible like the pear tree.

At first the relationship is good because he has money and she actually has feelings for the guy, but things start to change after he become mayor. He thinks that Janie and him are more superior than the rest of the people so he makes Janie stay in the store all the time. He forces her to wear rags on her head because he has jealousy issues and he tries to condescend her by saying, “....Ah mention you ain't no young gal no mo' .Nobody in heah lookin to make a wife outa yuh.Old as you
is”(79). Jody even beats her whenever she tries to speak and she realizes that she doesn't want this by thinking in her mind , “....her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something to drape her dreams over” (72). Janie realizes that the pear tree is not true and after Joe dies she burns the rags. Janie becomes a free woman and realizes she just wants to be loved and treated equal after experiencing that relationship. She shows this by saying , “You got tuh go there top know there.”

Lastly, Janie learns that love is not perfect, that it is full of sacrifices and that there are some things that you have to accept about your partner if you want to be happy.. She shows acceptance when she thinks in her mind, “It was part of him,so it was alright.” (125) She thinks this because he gambles all the time and he was trying to win back the money that he stole from her which was a sacrifice she had to deal with, but the ultimate sacrifice was yet to come. It was when Tea Cake got sick with rabies and he had insecurity issues about Janie cheating so he tried to shoot her. She shot him before he could shoot her even though she loved him and she didn't want to. Even though he died she's happy to experience the love that he had given her and she shows this by thinking, ““ The kiss of his memories made pictures of love an and light against the wall. Here was peace.” (193) Janie shows that love is not perfect when she says “ ain't something like a's different at every shore.” (191) Love is different for everyone.

In the end Janie learns that there is more to love than she had imagined. She had to experience the ups and downs of life in relationships to realize that love was really about sacrifices, equality, and that it is not a fairytale. I believe that the movie captures this theme very well because in the scenes when she is with Tea Cake it shows that she really cares about him and he really cares about her. She had to go through pain and suffering, happiness and tears, and she gained wisdom through all of those circumstances and life. Janie gained insight on tough love and true love.

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