ArticlePDF Available

The Legacy of Romanticism: the Pear Tree and Janie Crawford in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God



Hurston’s masterpiece, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and its protagonist, Janie Crawford, have mostly been studied under the rubrics of African American culture. That is why the readings are typically concerned with the analysis of the protagonist’s personality in her African American society, e.g., the study of such issues as language, racial discrimination, and male authority, to name but few. Emphasizing the protagonist’s connection with the pear tree as a synecdoche for nature, the authors endeavor to examine the novel and its heroine in a romantic context. It will be argued that Janie’s personality is subject to a tri-partite development. A connection will be drawn between her infatuation with the pear tree as her source of inspiration and the three stages of her life to demonstrate her growth from innocence to experience to organized innocence. Analyzing Hurston’s masterpiece from this perspective provides a better understanding of the mechanism that leads to the protagonist’s development.
The Legacy of Romanticism: the Pear Tree and Janie
Crawford in Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were
Watching God
Leila Hajjari
&Hossein Aliakbari Harehdasht
Parvin Ghasemi
Published online: 29 September 2015
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015
Abstract Hurstonsmasterpiece,Their Eyes Were Watching God, and its protagonist,
Janie Crawford, have mostly been studied under the rubrics of African American
culture. That is why the readings are typically concerned with the analysis of the
protagonists personality in her African American society, e.g., the study of such issues
as language, racial discrimination, and male authority, to name but few. Emphasizing
the protagonists connection with the pear tree as a synecdoche for nature, the authors
endeavor to examine the novel and its heroine in a romantic context. It will be argued
that Janies personality is subject to a tri-partite development. A connection will be
drawn between her infatuation with the pear tree as her source of inspiration and the
three stages of her life to demonstrate her growth from innocence to experience to
organized innocence. Analyzing Hurstons masterpiece from this perspective provides
a better understanding of the mechanism that leads to the protagonists development.
Keywords Hurston .Romantic .Innocence .Experience .Pear tree .Nature
Zora Neale HurstonsTheir Eyes Were Watching God is the story of a young African
American girl by the name of Janie Crawford who develops from immaturity to
maturity or from Blakian innocence to experience to organized innocence in the course
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
DOI 10.1007/s12111-015-9312-2
*Leila Hajjari
Hossein Aliakbari Harehdasht
Parvin Ghasemi
English Department, Faculty of Humanities, Persian Gulf University of Bushehr, Bushehr, Iran
Department of Foreign Languages and Literature Faculty of Humanities, Shiraz University, Shiraz,
of marrying three men in a society which is highly dominated by male authority and/or
patriarchy. She owns the potentiality for adventure, romance, and individualism. She
sees a pear tree and the bee in her youth and engages in constant reflections on it. All
through her journey from youth to adulthood, the pear tree blossoms and its loving bee
image become, by permanent retrospection, her true drive and inspiration in a quest for
love and marriage, guiding her through the mechanism of the victimizing social forces
that are represented by her two first husbands, Logan Killicks and Jody Starks, to the
dynamism of her third husband Virgible (Tea Cake) Woods.
Despite her apparent growth and self-awareness gained by suffering and contemplation
in nearly 24 years, the critics who acknowledge her development oppose those who
criticize the so-called pastoralization of the protagonists life. Consequently, the criticism
on Their Eyes Were Watching God is divided into two broad groups: that which explicates
Janie Crawfords development from silence to voice and/or from oppression to self-
assertion and that which traces a linear female desire for heterosexual relationship; the
former raises her to the glorious pinnacle of independence and articulation, whereas the
latter places her at the lonesome and desperate pit of lack of identity and silence.
Literature Review
The pursuit of Janies socio-political or spiritual development has been one of the main
concerns of Hurston scholars. A lot of critical essays have been written to celebrate the
protagonists triumphant voice and independence. As Gloria Cronin observes, Bamidst
all this variety of motive, the criticism has none the less been largely dominated by one
type of essayreading the novel as a feminist triumph tale, unshaded by any less than
affirmative vision of the heroine^(Newman 2003:817). Wendy J. McCredie (1982), for
example, surveys the novel to detect JaniesBstruggle to articulate, to appropriate her
own voice and, through her voice, herself^(p. 25). Wolff, MT (1982) argues that the
transformation of the real events or actions into lyrical language creates a dream world,
an ideal image by which the heroine can overcome the bitterness of stark reality of
imposed identities in an un-lyrical, un-romantic world. As she affirms,
This transformation of events or actions into elements of a lyrical point of view
takes place on several levels in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The descriptions
of certain crucial scenes, and their repetitions, turn them into emblems or
symbols. Yet the transformation of the outside world into a personal vision, of
Bactions^into self-recognitions, is also the theme of the novel. (p. 29)
Kubitschek, Missy Dehn (1983) concentrates on the ways that HurstonsTheir Eyes
Were Watching God portrays Janies self-discovery and self-definition. As she com-
ments, it
celebrates her as an artist who enriches Eatonville by communicating her under-
standing...ThefirsthalfofTheir Eyes deals with Janies initial refusal to answer
the call to adventure: the second details her trials: the all but-overlooked and
crucial frame story concerns her return to community and the resultant possibility
for communal as well as personal growth. (p. 110)
36 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
Kubitschek (1983) affirms Janies growth and sees the pear tree as JaniesBideal
image^with which she Bharmonizes her daily life^(p. 110). Marks and Donald (1985)
acknowledge Hurstons organistic view of romanticized pastoralism on the part of Tea
Cake and Janie; however, she finds this ideology undercut by the inherent violence of
heterosexuality (pp. 152153). Wall and Cheryl (1989) discover the resource of the
female empowerment in hoodoo rituals and relates the essence of spiritual randomness
and freedom inherent in it with the protagonists sense of freedom; she, then, concludes
BThrough a process abstracted from ritual, Janie like Zora comes into possession of the
word^(p. 677); i.e., she achieves her independent female voice. King Sigrid (1990)
studies the function of naming in the different stages of Janies marital life to reveal
how naming could act as an agent of authority and how her identity had been
jeopardized by the name givers such as Nanny, Jody Starks, or by the people in
Eatonville, concluding that Janie has finally gained Bknowledge and power, able to
rename her surroundings because she has unnamed herself^(p. 695). Ryan Simmons
(2002)writesBFor Henry Louis Gates, Janie discovers her own narrative power when
she rhetorically kills her husband Joe^(p. 192). Simmons refers to the BOthers who
have found in Janie a model of political self-assertion include[ing] Alice Walker, Susan
Willis, Glynis Carr, Sally Ann Ferguson, Wendy J. McCredie, Jerome E. Thornton, and
Robert Hemenway^(pp. 181182). Simmonsanalysis of the opposing critics (affir-
mative and negative in their approach to the question of Janies development) includes
such critics as Sharon Davie, Mary Helen Washington, Maria Tai Wolff, Alice Walker
(affirmative criticism), and Robert Stepto, Michael Awkward, Deborah G. Plant, Maria
J. Racine, and Dale M. Bauer (negative criticism). The study of these critics shows that
the negative criticism is as strong in argument as the affirmative reading of the novel;
there is a sense of ambiguity or indecisiveness in the text of the novel which is analyzed
by Sharon Davie and William M. Ramsay.
Sharon Davies(1993) reference to the inherent ambiguity in Janies victory is painful
but necessary: BThis perspective on female sexuality-that it does not disappear because
Janie, who may even be in de change uh lifeherself, is no longer young-makes the
moment of victory that much more ambiguous^(pp. 451452). The supposed toppling
of the hierarchy by Janie appears to be untenable because hierarchy, in Davies opinion,
is not a unified and autonomous object in a known locus of existence to reach for and to
bring down without replacing it with another. As she explains,
Definitions of cruel and repressive obviously vary (and matter relatively more or
less) according to the readersown political vision. My assumption is not that
rational, hierarchical, binary thinking can (or should) be banished. But without
acknowledging the contingency of the truths this thinking provides, human
and categories-even categories like truth and fiction-Hurston encourages her
readers to realize that, as Adrienne Rich has said, truth is not one thing, or even
a system. It is an increasing complexity(187). (pp. 448453)
Davie believes that hierarchy is what people create in order to assuage their
fear of death or (to use her exact wording) Bto defend against death, and exert
poweroverlife^(p. 451).
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 37
William M. Ramsey (1994) questions the coherent structure of the novel and
believes that it is Bneither an evasively nostalgic, pastoral folk romance, nor is it wholly
a feminist text. It is an ambivalent and contradictory text reflecting tensions Hurston felt
both in love and in her rural South^(p. 47). He believes that the ambiguity which the
critics face and tackle with is due to the hasty publication of the novel leaving structural
flaws in it. To take this as a probability, the ambivalence on the part of the Heroines
victory or failure must then be textual, not ideological.
Lillie P. Howard (1982) concentrates on Janies earlier romantic idealism vs. her
later or final return to reality, Breturning to her grandmothers way of thinking, or at
least tempering her own romanticism with some much-needed realism^(pp. 412413).
In this reading, Janies growth from her young age to her adulthood becomes circular in
a way that she resolves to accept the ways of her Nanny or at least a modification of that
kind of thinking, Bshe will no doubt sprinkle a few of Nannys scriptures here and there
in her own sermon^(Howard 1982:413). Howard, agreeing with Hemenway in
acknowledging the Binadequacy^of Nannys vision, argues that Janiesvisionisas
inadequate as that of Nanny and the Bideal . . . [that] the novel . . . suggests is to be
found in the merging of the two [visions]^(pp. 413414). Donald R. Marks (1985)
finds heterosexual love essential to Janies pursuit of happiness, yet she insists that no
community can guarantee ideal love because heterosexual love involves violence.
Therefore, the pastoral organicism that Janie seeks has to retreat to her consciousness.
Marks believes that the retreat is an ideological resolution to the problems of love and
marriage; it hides Hurstons ideological dilemma. As he notes,
In place of a more viable vision of society than either capitalism or romantic
pastoralism can provide, Hurston asserts that human beings can find their ultimate
peace outside the physical world. For Janie, the locus for this peace is the isolated,
experienced consciousness. (1985:157)
James Krasner (1989) singly demonstrates two opposing ideas about Janie
Crawford, the ideas that are, in his opinion, induced by the ambivalence inherent in
the structure of the text. As he puts it,
Janie makes a conscious attempt to tell a thematically and imagistically unified
story-the lyrical narrative of a young woman growing into knowledge, indepen-
dence, and true love. . . . To accept Janies self-portrayal unequivocally is to
accept a model of autobiography which is politically as well as aesthetically
romanticized. (1989:117)
Indeed, exploring the opinions of such critics as Hemenway, Sherley Ann Williams,
Barbara Johnson, Maria Tai Wolff, Donald R. Marks, and Lloyd W. Brown, James
Krasner, one observes the opposing ideas about the nature of Janies triumph or failure
in realizing her original pear tree-bee vision and its prophecy concluding Krasnersown
understanding of the relationship as BJanie can no more contain the promise of
happiness in a pear tree^(1989:124).
Taking up the argument from Krasners final assertion, we would like to revisit the
relationship between Janie and the pear tree by paying attention to more details.
Although the task is a little risky and will place us at the same juncture of affirmation
38 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
vs. negation as that of other critics, we have taken the risk in order to look at Janies
vision in the context of Hurstons romanticism as a school of thought rather than a
romantic relationship. The authors hope that their reading will not Berase^the race as
Michele Wallace might worry about (Judie Newman 2003:817); rather, it creates a
chance for a broader look at the fictional world of the novel tracing the similarities that
could exist between an African American female writer/protagonists interest and that
of the English romantic ideology.
Zora Neale Hurstons Romantic Heroine
Despite being a twentieth-century author and Bcertainly a product of the Harlem
Renaissance,^Zora Neale Hurston Bis nevertheless informed by a number of other
literary movementspast and contemporary with [her]including romanticism [em-
phasis added], realism, naturalism, and modernism^(Sharon L. Jones 2009:173). The
world that she depicts, therefore, is a playing stage of opposing groups of people: of
those who, in their transcendental pursuits, are inspired by the organic livelihood of the
nature and of those who yield to the mechanisms of a stagnant urban life.
Janie Crawford, the protagonist in the novel, establishes a prolonged relationship
with nature in general and with the pear tree specifically in order to escape the
mechanism of her communal life. The reason behind the prolonged relationship
between Janie and the tree can be explained by a broader look at the reason behind
humankinds and their relationship with nature. As Michael Ferber (2005)explains,
[Nature] is the vehicle for human self-understanding [emphasis added] and for the
articulation of the most profound emotions of love and grief, as can be seen in
GoethesThe Sorrows of Young Werther or LamartinesBThe Lake.^Moreover,
examining nature in literature can also provide a helpful means of interrogating
the nature of literature. The creative and dynamic processes of the natural world
have often served as a model for writers to understand their own artistic creativity,
as in KeatssBOde to a Nightingale^or in any number of poems by Holderlin. (p.
The extract reveals the role that nature plays in shaping the mind of the artists; it acts
as a Bvehicle of self-understanding.^
Hurstons heroine, Janie, is telling her own life story to become a good example of
the romantic artist who articulates Bthe most profound love and grief.^She represents
Hurston herself in seeing beyond the mundane materiality which is part and parcel of
modern societies. Fox-Genovese notes that BHurston...setsher sights on an ideal
beyond the horizon of everyday life [and] . . . beyond the boundaries of her gender.^
(Gordon E. Thompson 1994:740). Her heroine sees beyond and thus urges other
African American women to see beyond, Bto see beyond seeing^(Hurston
Janie, in her innocence, sees the pear tree and beyond; when she sees
the bee on the blossoms of the pear tree, she takes it as a marriage, BSo this was a
All extracts are from Hurston, Zora Neale. (1990). Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Har per &
Row Publishers.
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 39
marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation^(Hurston 1990:11). Acting
upon the vision inspired by nature and depending on her feelings rather than on the
reason enforced on her by her surrounding people, she becomes a prototype of African
American romantic hero and in the manner of Whitman she sings her Bself.^
The roots of Janies interest in nature and her ideological preoccupation with the
pear tree lie in Hurstons own personal interest in the trees. BAs a child,^Tina Barr
becomes important when we understand Janies preoccupation with the pear tree in
Their Eyes Were Watching God^(p. 102). Barr (2002)) makes reference to Hurstons
childhood experience when she Bmade particular friendship with one huge tree and
always played against its roots^(p. 102). This nostalgic interest in the trees has found
its way into the structure of her novel to the extent that the characters are identified by
some sort of affinity with or opposition to its meaning.
Janies Family Tree
Janie, as the best example of affinity with the (pear) tree, is descendant from a family
which is highly related to trees; her grandmothers(Nannys)
head and face looked like the standing roots of some old tree that had been torn
away by storm. Foundation of ancient power that no longer mattered. The cooling
palma christi that Janie had bound about her grandmothers head with a white rag
had wilted down and become part and parcel of the woman. (Hurston 1990:12)
Janies mother is also connected with this family tree through her vegetal name.
Her name, Leafy, resounds this connection. Janie, as the third generation of the
people who are closely connected with nature, has a more dynamic relationship; her
name, Crawford, implies a small river or stream that moves slowly (The Oxford
English Dictionary 2009) suggesting a vital dynamicity and growth that is inherent
in and brought about by water, hence being vital for any kind of growth in the nature.
Besides, she is identified with the pear tree; she ultimately becomes Bagreattreein
leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and
Doom [are] in the branches^(Hurston 1990:8). Her identification with the pear tree
connects her with a powerful archetype, the archetype of feminine beauty,sexual
power,and fertility and of immortality as the word Bpear^means Bfruit,^from the
verb Bpra,^meaning Bto beget, multiply, bear fruit^;Bthe fruit perishes not nor fails
in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year^(Wikipedia:TheFree
Encyclopedia 2014). This natural longevity, permanence, or immortality is inherent
in the pear tree as a synecdoche for the nature which changes with seasons, but in
each season, it is still lush with new kinds of fruit-bearing trees. As Cyrena N.
Pondrom (1986) notes BJanie here is deliberately presented as a primal and mythic
figure. She measures time by the seasonal succession of blooming, growth (Bgreen
time^), harvest, and pollination (symbolically a cycle through death to rebirth)^(p.
189). Her reappearance at Eatonville at the age of 40 is good evidence for this mythic
immortality. What the people of the town would expect to see in Janie is anything but
freshness and charm of youth whereas the way that she is described in the text gives
no sign of her aging. She has developed from her youthful desire for love and
40 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
marriage to sophistication and charm with little loss of freshness and beauty. She is
still very much like an evergreen fruit-bearing tree:
The men noticed her firm buttocks like she had grape fruits in her pockets; the great
rope of black hair swinging to her waist and unraveling in the wind like a plume
[emphases added]; then her pugnacious breasts trying to bore holes in her shirt. They,
the men, were saving with the mind what they lost with the eye. (Hurston 1990:2)
Pheoby, her friend, is similarly amazed at her charm and youthful beauty: BGal, you
sho looks good. You looks like youse yoown daughter^(Hurston 4). There are other
places in the novel where her youth and beauty are emphasized. Tea Cake, for instance,
praises her for being young: BGod made it so you spent yoole age first wid somebody
else, and saved up yoyoung days to spend wid me^(Hurston 1990:172).
Janies Three Phases of Romantic Quest
Janie experiences initiation, quest, and recognition, which are the three necessary steps
in her romantic growth; she subdues the urge for conformism seen in Nanny and self-
consuming subservience in Leafy despite all the social pressures. She preserves the
vegetal matter of the two preceding generations (Nanny and Leafy) while instilling a
new spirit by remaining loyal to her original vision of the pear tree in all the three stages
of her development.
The First Stage: Innocence
In Janies first stage of life, we see a 16-year-old girl in a Blakian state of innocence
when the bloom has not been taken from her by people like Logan Killicks or Jody
Starks, the two men who represent experience. This early stage is the time when Janie
had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had
been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree
for the last three days. That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened.
It had called her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to
glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her
tremendously. . . . It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed
her in her sleep. (Hurston 1990:10)
It was the time when she
stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting
bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible
voice of it all came to her. She [sees] a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a
bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic
shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and
frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She [has] been summoned to
behold a revelation. (Hurston 1990:1011)
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 41
It is in this dreamy, visionary, and ideal stage that she starts her lifelong romantic
mission with transcendental inclination of watching things, Bseeking confirmation of
the voice and vision, finding[a] personal answer for all other creations except herself^
(Hurston 1990:10). As we read in a commentary on this passage,
The language of this passage is evocative of the erotic, naturalistic romanticism
[emphasis added] of Walt Whitman. Like Whitmanspoetry,Hurstons prose here
finds divinity and spirituality in the fertile lushness of the natural world (Bthe
ecstaticshiverofthetree...frothingwithdelight^). Janie sees nature as she
wants it to be: a world full of beauty and fulfillment. She chases after this ideal
because she wants to experience a harmonization with the beautiful and wild
forces that she witnesses under the pear tree. (SparkNotes Editors 2007)
Her existential questions, BShe [feels] an answer seeking her, but where? When?
How?^(Hurston 1990:10), in this first stage, find both easy and quick replies reflecting
the instantaneity and spontaneity of the romantic inquirers being satisfied with every
answer given by nature. It is the time of animal, or physical, orgasmic Bpain remorse-
less sweet that [leaves] her limp and languid^(Hurston 1990:11). It is the time, as
Wordsworth writes, of Bcourser pleasures of boyish [or girlish as in this novel] days/
And their glad animal movements^(Wordsworth and Samuel 1991:112). The instinc-
tive drive (coarser pleasures) portrayed in WordsworthsBTintern Abbey^is traceable
in the 16-year-old Janie. The coarser pleasures have been securely portrayed in the
metaphoric comparison made between Janie and the blossoming pear tree waiting for a
pollinating bee. No resistance is ever thought of by the tree and/or Janie, BOh to be a
pear treeany tree in Bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!
She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds, and she wanted to struggle
with life but it seemed to elude her^(Hurston 1990:11). The sexual drive is very strong
in Janie, and the image of the blossoming pear tree has been so much internalized in her
mind that she easily associates Johnny Taylors sexual encroachment with those
debutant Bkissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!^(Hurston 1990:11),
BThrough pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road. In her former
blindness she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before
dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes^(Hurston 1990:11). Metaphori-
cally speaking, Janie is the Bblossoming buds,^and Johnny Bbeglamored^by the Bdust
of pollen^is the pollinating bee. The connection between the blossom and the bee is a
natural connection. A similar kind of connection is sought by Janie to exist between her
and her future husband. Nonetheless, natural spontaneity and affinity with nature are
not given credit by the more experienced people around her, the people who prefer
sense to sensibility and have control over her youthful mind.
The Second Stage: Entry to the World of Experience
Nannys realism Nannys disapproval of Janies yielding to every passerbyssexual
encroachment questions her romantic notion of love and marriage. In Nannysopinion,
this kind of relationship is filthy and corrupt, BAh dontwantnotrashynigger,no
breath-and-britches, lak Johnny Taylor usinyobody to wipe his foots on^(Hurston
1990:12). Nanny is worried about her granddaughters safety and chastity to the extent
42 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
that she is ready to beat her violently to force her back to her senses,BShe slapped the
girls face violently, and forced her head back so that their eyes met in struggle^
(Hurston 1990:13).
Nanny is actually the product of a value system that defines a Black woman as
subservient to her male partner. It is not Janie in her unique individuality that she sees.
She sees a younger version of herself. As she says, Bde white man throw down de load
and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he donttote
it. He hand it to his women folks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah
can see^(Hurston 1990:14). Nannys realistic observation of the relationship among
people in society is at odds with Janies romantic vision of the tree and the bee. Unlike
Nanny, Janie is ultimately Babout the task of providing for her own spiritual and
physical [emphasis added] survival because an oppressive, male-dominated world
conspires to make her its beast of burden^(Ferguson 1987:186). The only problem,
at this early stage of her life, is that she is unable to bring any solid argument against
Nannys realism because she does not yet know why she prefers the relationship
between the pear tree and the bee. For her, it is all in the state of rough pleasure and
pure instinct. Her reply to Nannys question, Bhow long you been lowinJohnny
Taylor to kiss you?^is good evidence of her lack of experience, BOnly dis one time,
Nanny. Ah dont love him at all. Whut made me do itoh, Ah dontknow^(Hurston
1990:14). This kind of ignorance is common in the Blakian stage of innocence. It
indicates that there are Bavenues to knowledge of the divine, [but] our visions fail at the
first turning^(Smith 2008:147).
Romanticism is defined in terms of change and of becoming. It opposes stagnation and
fixity. Janie, in her immaturity and innocence, has to undergo change, the change that
accompanies experience. Why should she need the experience? It is probably for the very
reason that Wordsworth does and seeks in many different places of his poetry, Bto ward
off^as Hartman suggests, Benclosure in the solitary self^(Quinney 2009:67), or as
Blake beautifully puts it in his BMarriage of Heaven and Hell,^BThe man who never alters
his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind^(Blake 2002:173).
Logan Killicks: Protection or Possession? The change is inevitable for Janie as it is
inevitable in nature. However, she is not able to measure the true weight of her love for
nature and its seasonal change and has to take the risk of getting experienced in society.
Her marriage to Logan Killicks is the starting point of taking the risk and finding out
about living for herself in the world of experience. She marries Logan Killicks. Very
quickly, however, her romantic vision is threatened and desecrated, BThe vision of
Logan Killicks was desecrating the pear tree, but Janie didnt know how to tell Nanny
that. She merely hunched over and pouted at the floor^(Hurston 1990:13). After
2 months of living with Killicks, she pays a visit to Nanny and confesses that she
wants love in her marriage, BCause you told me Ah mus gointer love him, and, and Ah
dont. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah could do it^(Hurston 1990:22).
Nanny insists on her earlier notion of marriage by emphasizing the material possession,
enumerating the things that Killicks owns:
If you dont want him, you sho oughta. Heah you is wid de onliest organ in town,
amongst colored folks, in yoparlor. Got a house bought and paid for and sixty
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 43
us black women gits hung on. Dis love! Datsjustwhuts got us pullinand uh
haulinand sweatinand doinfrom cant see in de mornintill cant see at night.
(Hurston 1990:22)
To Nanny, marriage and love are summed up in the word Bprotection,^BTaint
Logan Killicks Ah wants you to have, baby, itsprotection^(Hurston 1990:14). Nanny
demands economical stability, which, in their culture, suggests respect and power
whereas Janie looks for passionate Bnonhierarchical relationship, rooted in desire
that-Janie wants with the world^(Davie 1993:456). This kind of relationship is
presented in the hurricane scene, itself another and harsher aspect of the nature, when
B[c]ommon danger made common friends [and] [n]othing sought a conquest over the
other^(Hurston 1990:156). Friendliness and equality are not inherent in Nannys word,
protection; the word in its communal and economical senses signifies superiority of the
one who protects over the one who is protected.
Nannys opinion about love is defined by money and material possession. Being in
love to her is equal to being a fool (Hurston 1990:22), whereas to Janie love means
everything; she has the least care about possession, BAh could throw ten acres of it over
de fence every day and never look back to see where it fell. Ah feel de same way bout
Mr. Killicks too. Some folks never was meant to be loved and hesoneofem^
(Hurston 1990:22). Everything about Mr. Killicks is unpleasant to her, physical and
verbal, BAhd rather be shot wid tacks than tuh turn over in de bed and stir up de air
whilst he is in dere. He dont even never mention nothinpretty^(Hurston 1990:23).
Since the ideological conflict between Nanny and Janie cannot be resolved, the latter
has to wait,
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the
pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand
around the gate and expect things. What things? She didnt know exactly.
(Hurston 1990:23)
Even though she is in the first phase of gaining experience about living in the
multitude of common folks, her standard of living and that of love and marriage are
determined by her subjective vision of the relationship between the bee and the
blossom. She takes it as the standard for her marriage, BAh wants things sweet wid
mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think^(Hurston 1990:23).
Although some critics like Todd McGowan (1999) believe that her Brelationship with
Logan destroys her romantic conception of love^(p. 112), the investigation into Janies
notion of love in her three stages of life proves otherwise. She Bstruggles with issues,^
as Kubitschek (1983)) affirms, Bin order to bring her own life into harmony with her
original vision of the pear tree^(p. 109). She remains loyal to nature and exalts her
vision of love and marriage. Nature is the very gauge by which she measures the value
of the people or things around her.
The pear tree is the natural mentor and/or guide from whom she learns things that no
one has ever been able to teach her, BShe knew things that nobody had ever told her.
For instance, the world of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to the falling seeds
and said, Ah hope you fall on soft ground,because she had heard seeds saying that to
each other as they passed^(Hurston 1990:2324). Her true knowledge of (and not the
44 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
experience of) things and beings is, thus, the knowledge gained through meditating on
and uniting with nature, pear tree being only a metonymic replacement for the whole
nature. Nature stands for the value system which is lacking in the desecrating people
like Nanny, Bskull-headed^Logan, and Bbaggy^materialistic big-voiced Starks. What
they impose on her thoughts is that Bmarriage did not make love^(Hurston 1990:24).
Quite paradoxically, however, her entry to the adult world of womanhood is acknowl-
edged by the death of her first dream, the dream which is destroyed by the arranged
marriage, B[Her] first dream was dead, so she became a woman^(Hurston 1990:24).
She converts into the kind of womanhood defined by the conventions of the dominant
culture in her society. She has now sunk deep into the gloom of her second phase of
Blakian experience.
Jody Starks: Promise or Voice? The second phase of Janies life, which has already
begun with Logan Killicks, continues into the next two decades of living with Jody
Starks. In this long period of hushed spiritual alienation and sexual frustration, Janies
dream for the second time remains dormant. Her womanhood is acknowledged only in
terms of preponderant patriarchal standard of living, the standard that confines a
woman into work in kitchen or store serving her male master. By marrying Joe Starks,
she faces the stark reality of her male-dominated society.
The desire for freedom represented by the horizon is her provocative to leave
Killicks and join Jody Starks. By running away and joining Jody, she had thought that
have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom^
(Hurston 1990:31). Nonetheless, this second alternative is also a counterfeit, a duplicate
of her former husband whose main interest is material possession instead of free
exchange of love. Jody Bdid not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees, . . .
he spoke for far horizon. He spoke [emphasis added] for change and chance^(Hurston
1990:28). If we re-examine Jodys infatuation with his big voice, we can understand
what Hurston tries to suggest by using the word Bspoke.^He simply spoke for far
horizons, but the place he took Janie was a smothering little town with Bthe scant dozen
of shame-faced houses scattered in the sand and palmetto roots^(Hurston 1990:32),
BGod, they call this a town?^Joesaidinsurprise,BWhy, taintnothingbutarawplace
in de woods^(Hurston 1990:32). When compared with Logansplace,Balonesome
place like a stump in the middle of the woods where nobody had ever been^(Hurston
1990:20), one finds out that the change did not make much difference. Although Logan
and Jodys towns are located in the woods, it is the dominance of man rather than that
of nature or natural beauty that defines the true atmosphere of the setting. Thus, things
turn out to be quite opposite to what Janie has imagined, BThe bed [is] no longer a
daisy-field for her and Jody to play in^(Hurston 1990:67), BShe had no more blossomy
openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the
petals used to be^(Hurston 1990:68), BShe lived between her hat and heels, with her
emotional disturbances like shade patterns in the woods^(Hurston 1990:72), and BNow
and then she thought of a country road at sun-up and considered flight^(Hurston
1990:72). As we see in these quotations, all speaking Janies mind, the oneness with
nature (and more specifically with the pear tree) is the only hope that she has. In the
despairing moments of her life, she is still thinking, though nostalgically, about Bdaisy-
field,^Bdusting pollen,^Bglistening young fruit,^and Bpetals.^Despite the fact that
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 45
she is hushed by the domineering Jody, she acknowledges her womanhood in terms of
her own vegetal being, comparing herself to a piece of wood or a tree trunk by
measuring her height in terms of Binch^instead of Bfeet,^BAhm uh woman every
inch of me, and Ah know it^(Hurston 1990:75). Thus, Janies imaginative unity with
the pear tree is still active in the midst of frustration and alienation; she remains loyal to
her vision and identifies her sexuality, individuality, and femininity with it.
The Third Stage: Unity with Nature
The romantic atmosphere of the novel with its entire natural backdrop is reminiscent of
its heroines latent dreams, the ones which are potentially viable only through integrity
or unity with nature. Hurston (1990), in the opening scene of the novel writes Bwomen
forget all those things they dont want to remember, and remember everything they
dont want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly^
(p. 1). Janies procrastinated dream of sensual/spiritual satisfaction
takes more than
20 years to be fulfilled. She has continued her youthful vision of blossom and bloom
even during the stony years of frustration and silence, B[O]ne day she sat and watched
the shadow of herself going about tending store and prostrating itself before Jody, while
all the time she herself sat under a shady tree with the wind blowing through her hair
and her clothes^(Hurston 1990:73). She never stopped being a part of the tree that she
associated herself so passionately with. She desired natural love and had long-lasting
grip on her desire. Her reply to Pheoby when she advises her to marry a rich man
instead of being with Tea Cake is good evidence of her lifelong devotion to her
youthful vision, to the ideal form of marriage that happens for love (between the bee
and the blossom), not for convenience, BDis aint no business proposition, and no race
after property and titles. Dis is uh love game. Ah done lived Grandmas way, now Ah
means tuh live mine^(Hurston 1990:108). Finally, she lives the natural life of love and
marriage, the one seen in the relationship between the blossom and the bee. She marries
Tea Cake, and the third phase of her romantic vision begins.
Vergible (Tea Cake) Woods: Rejuvenating Nature Two decades of Janieslife
was spent on the life prescribed by her grandma and by the observant con-
sciousness of the town. As she confesses to Pheoby, BAh always did want tuh
git round uh whole heap, but Jody wouldntlowmetuh.WhenAhwasntin
de store he wanted me tuh jes sit wid folded hands and sit there. And Ahdsit
dere wid de walls creepnup on me and squeezinall de life outa me^
(Hurston 1990:107). After Jody Starksdeath, however, she resumes her belated
quest to fulfill her prolonged dream. Nothing can deter her. She does not want
something, and it had killed her when it found her^(Hurston 1990:114). Janies
search for self-recognition and progress, the main qualities of a romantic
Janies sensuality embodied in her extreme beauty is inseparable from her spirituality gushing from her soul
as the two together build up her insatiable self. While the former carries the load of life on its shoulder, the
latter is invited to come and see (watch) God, BShe pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from
around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much life in its meshes! She called in her
soul to come and see^(184).
46 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
character, reaches its climactic point after her intimacy with Tea Cake. It is
actually the subconscious effect of his being close with nature that makes Janie
let him in her intimacy,
She couldnt make him look just like any other man to her. He looked like the
love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossomapeartreeblossomin
the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps.
Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung about him. He was
These two lovers get very close in a way that their names become colloca-
tions, BTea Cake and Janie gone hunting. Tea Cake and Janie gone fishing.
Tea Cake and Janie gone to Orlando to the movies. Tea Cake and Janie
[emphases added] gone to the dance. Tea Cake making flower beds in Janies
yard and seeding the garden for her^(Hurston 1990:105).TeaCakeplantsnew
seeds of life in Janie. The town people are surprised by the new Mrs. Mayor
Starks (Hurston 1990:105).
Tea Cake was actually the realization of Janies youthful romantic vision of the
marriage of the blossom and the bee. BHe could be a bee to a blossomapeartree
blossom in the spring^(Hurston 1990:101). He is the bee to the blossom, the thing
Janie had always dreamt, the dream of a long period of time, BJesus. Ah done waited uh
long time^(Hurston 1990:115). She had waited a long time for him, and despite all
frustration and alienation, it Bseemed as if she had known him all her life^(Hurston
Vergible (Tea Cake) Woods, with a fortuitous name for the woods and
vegetation, and being always, as the name Vergible denotes, Bcontiguous or
adjacent to; to lie on the verge of^(The Oxford English Dictionary 2009)the
woods, becomes her last resort to undo the losses that the other people had
caused her. He takes her out of the stagnating conventionality and deadening
patriarchy, the two oppressive forces that held the (African American) women
in place and subjected them to oblivious stillness, BAh never spected nothin,
Tea Cake, but beindead from the standinstill and tryintuh laugh. But you
come long and made somethinouta me^(Hurston 1990:158). Janiesprevious
husbands never taught anything to her, except for beating him for being a
woman, whereas Tea Cake teaches her to play and to shoot (with its double
meanings of shooting guns and shooting as a green plant),
BYu h c a n tbeat [emphasis added] uh woman. Dey jes wont stand fuh it. But
Ahll come teach yuh agin. You gointuh be uh good player too, after while.^
BYou reckon so? Jody useter tell me Ah never would learn. It wuz too heavy fuh
mah brains.^(Hurston 1990:92)
He helps her learn how to play checkers and takes her on fishing. He makes
her feel younger than her age, Bshefeltlikeachildbreakingtherules.Thats
what made Janie like it^(Hurston 1990:98). He also makes her recognize her
own natural beauty ignored for a very long time. He compares her hair to a
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 47
doveswing,BItssopretty.Itfeelsjuslak underneath uh doveswingnextto
mah face^(Hurston 1990:99),
BUmph! Youse mighty easy satisfied. Ah been had dis same hair next tuh mah
face ever since Ah cried de fust time, and taint never gimme me no thrill.^....
BUmph! umph! umph! Ah betcha you dont never go tuh de lookinglass and
enjoy yoeyes yoself. You lets other folks git all de enjoyment out of em thout
takinin any of it yoself.^
Naw, Ah never gazes at em in de lookinglass. If anybody else gits any pleasure
out of em Ah aint been told about it.^
BSee that? Youse got de world in uh jug and make out you dont know it. But
Ahm glad tuh be de one tuh tell yuh.^(Hurston 1990:99)
As we observe, Janies ignorance of her beauty was due to the fact that she rarely
looked in the mirror. It was because she needed a true guide in the nature, the true
reflection of a lamp that sheds light and enlightens, not merely that of a mirror. Tea
Cake, as for being the son of the evening sun, is the mirror that tells and the light that
enlightens and purges the shadows to show the unknown/unseen beauty of Janie to her,
BYou needs tellinand showin, and datswhutAhmdoin^(Hurston 1990:102). He
Bknew where the beam was bedding^(Hurston 1990:98).Whenheisaway,Janiefalls
into darkness, BHe did not return that night nor the next and so she plunged into the
abyss and descended to the ninth darkness where light has never been^(Hurston
1990:103), BBut it was always going to be dark to Janie if Tea Cake didntsooncome
back^(Hurston 1990:115).
Tea Cake is close to nature; he uses terms that refer to natural beings, BLook lak we
done run our conversation from grass roots tuh pine trees [italics added]^(Hurston
1990:101). He takes her to Jacksonville which is in complete contrast to the places that
her previous husbands had taken. It Blooked like it needed a fence around it to keep it
from running out on ethersbosom^(Hurston 1990:113). The town is an opposite
extreme to Killicksfarm or StarksEatonville. She is close to the horizon now
experiencing the vast immensity of liberty and love which, in the first glance, seems
very strange and intimidating, BIt was too big to be warm, let alone to need somebody
like her^(Hurston 1990:113). But, Tea Cake Bkin take most any lil thing and make
summertime out of it when times is dull^(Hurston 1990:135).
Vergible Woods, as a romantic personification of the woods, takes her to the
Everglades and to the mucks. The naming is very crucial as the former (with its ever-
glades) implicates an open space surrounded by woods and the latter refers to a dark
highly fertile soil, BThe dung of cattle (usually mixed with decomposing vegetable
refuse) used for manure; farm-yard manure^(The Oxford English Dictionary 2009), in
which green plants can grow in abundance, BTo Janies strange eyes,^
everything in the Everglades was big and new. Big Lake Okechobee, big beans,
big cane, big weeds, big everything [except for big voices]. Weeds that did well to
grow waist high up the state were eight and often ten feet tall down there. Ground
48 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
so rich that everything went wild. Volunteer cane just taking the place. Dirt roads
so rich and black that a half mile of it would have fertilized a Kansas wheat field.
Wild cane on either side of the road hiding the rest of the world. People wild too.
(Hurston 1990:123)
Where else Janie would think of being, metaphorically speaking, planted? Every-
thing is wild in the sense that it is a part of pristine nature. To Janie,
except a package of garden seed that Tea Cake had bought to plant. . . . The seeds
reminded Janie of Tea Cake more than anything else because he was always
planting things. (Hurston 1990:182)
Janies romantic quest for becoming one with nature finds meaning and becomes
possible with Tea Cake, the seed lover, the mythic image of the rising sun. After Tea
Cakes death, his presence is given warranty by the seeds that he leaves behind. By
sprinkling and planting them, Janie implicates her own fertility, pregnancy, and fruit-
fulness, an increase in number and amount both physically and spiritually; each seed
means a new pear tree, a new Janie, and eventually a new Tea Cake, the seed lover and
Bthe son of the Evening Sun^(Hurston 1990:180), coming from the horizon to fertilize
her and to help her grow.
The Romantic BSelf^Authorized The genealogy of Janies three-partite phases of life
demonstrates how her personality, identity, and individuality are closely related to the
vision of the pear tree, the synecdoche for nature. The story told by Janie is the story of
a voyage, a spiritual pilgrimage from innocence to experience, and from experience to a
third state which, in Blakes terms, is called Borganized innocence.^As Chung-hsuan
Tung (1997) asserts,
Blake suggests that naïve innocence must of necessity pass through and assim-
ilate the opposite state of experience and reach the third state called Borganized
innocence,^which comprehends but transcends the first two states, if one is to
arrive at perfection. (BBlakesDialecticVision^)
Janies return to the people is like that of Coleridges Ancient Mariner who is urged
by an unknown desire to tell his story to the Wedding Guest. The Mariner is ancient
(indicating immortality) and is determined to tell his story, the story of committing a
sin, followed by suffering and redemption.
The same process of events, despite the gender difference, happens in Their Eyes
Were Wa t c h i n g G o d . Janie tells her story of sin, suffering (or penitence), and redemp-
tion, too. She sins against nature and against the pear tree by marrying Logan Killicks.
She betrays her vision of the pear tree and indirectly kills the vision (the idea of killing
is inherent in Killicksname) as does the Mariner betraying himself and the crew of the
ship by killing the seagull. Janie like the Mariner suffers. She suffers for more than
20 years with the climactic pain of losing Tea Cake only to rejoin and to repeat her
vision of the bee and the blossom through telling her story to Phoeby. Like Hurston,
Janie returns to her people as a storyteller. As Carla Kaplan (1995) consents, B[t]he
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 49
meaning of Janiespeartreerevelation,,the
act of storytelling and self-narration. Telling her story to Pheoby,^Kaplan comments,
Bsupplies the erotic fulfillment Janie misunderstands as marriage,and in this sense
Pheoby, whose hungry listening helped Janie to tell her story,is the beeto Janies
blossoms^(p. 116). Molly Hite (1989) detects another interesting meaning in her act
of narration. She affirms that BJanies subsequent three marriages somewhat miracu-
lously produce no children. The real fertilization seems to occur when Janie combines
with Pheoby to give birth to her story after she has returned to Eatonville, the town of
tale-tellers^(p. 269). When she finishes her story, Pheoby Bbreathe[s] out heavily^
saying BAh done growed ten feet higher from jus listenin tuh you, Janie. Ah aint
satisfied wid mahself no mo^(Hurston 1990:1823), which is reminiscent of the last
stanza of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,
He went, like one that hath been stunnd
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn. (Wordsworth and Samuel 1991:39)
Janies story like that of the Mariner helps its addressee grow and gives wisdom and
sadness at the same time; Pheoby Bgrowed ten feet higher^and Baint satisfied wid
mahself no mo.^The guest in the Mariners tale is not satisfied either and is burdened
with Bsense forlorn.^Both Coleridge and Hurston through their protagonists provide a
new understanding of romanticism: that the true growth of the self is achieved through
mutual relationship with nature. She finally emerges triumphantly as a new African
American author of her identity, the identity of a woman who seeks natural beauty,
love, and marriage.
In sum, Zora Neal HurstonsTheir Eyes Were Watching God has mostly been
studied under the rubrics of African American folklore tradition, but reading the novel
out of its traditional context reveals its other strategic aspects which deserve equal
attention. There has been an attempt here to show that Janies developing personality is
understandable if observed in the light of another literary movement, romanticism.
Janie Crawford possesses most of the qualities that are found in romantic heroines; her
mental and emotional obsession by the pear tree, a synecdoche for nature, is the
shaping force of her identity, individuality, and subjectivity. Despite its modern context,
the novel portrays the adventures of a romantic heroine who moves from the Blakian
world of innocence to the world of experience and from thence to the world of
organized innocence. This growth is parallel to her development from her youthful
waywardness and desire to identify herself with a blossoming pear tree (that receives
unimpeded love and care from the pollinating bees) to her later marriage to Logan
Killicks and Joe Starks only to emerge triumphantly as a fully blossomed pear tree
joined with her bee (her third husband Tea Cake), the one who makes her pregnant with
his love seeds. The development is important because the dominant discourse of the
African American patriarchy which identifies women with mules denies or doubts its
possibility. Janies growth is beyond the comprehension of her grandmother, her friend,
50 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
Pheoby, and the people of the town. Her desire to experience mutual love and respect,
which she discovers in her youthful observation of the relationship between the
blossoming pear tree and the pollinating bee, makes her iconoclastic and revolutionary.
She turns into an everlasting myth, the creator, and author of a new African American
identity whose ideological principles originate from the romantic primitiveness of being
close to nature.
Barr, T. (2002). Queen of the Niggerati and the Nile: the Isis-Osiris myth in Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes
Wer e Wa t ch i ng Go d . Journal of Modern Literature, 25,101113. (Retrieved from Project MUSE on
August 9, 2003.)
Blake, W. (2002). In W. B. Yeats (Ed.), Collected poems. London and New York: Routledge.
Davie, S. (1993). Free mules, talking buzzards, and cracked plates: the politics of dislocation in Their Eyes
Wer e Wa t ch i ng Go d . PMLA, 108(3), 446459. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Dictionary, T. O. E. (2009). Computer software. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ferber, M. (Ed.). (2005). A companion to European romanticism. Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Ferguson, S.A. (1987). Folkloric men and female growth in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Black American
Literature Forum, 21,185197. (Retrieved from JSTOR on December 27, 2007.)
Hite, M. (1989). Romance, marginality, matrilineage: Alice Walkers The Color Purple and Zora Neale
Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, 22(3), 257273. (Retrieved
from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Howard, L.P. (1982). Nanny and Janie: will the Twain ever meet? (a look at Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes
Were Watching God). Journal of Black Studies, 12(4), 403414. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September
10, 2007.)
Hurston, Z. N. (1990). Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
Jones, S. L. (2009). Critical companion to Zora Neale Hurston: a literary reference to her life and work.New
York: Facts on File.
Kaplan, C. (1995). The erotics of talk: that oldest human longingin Their Eyes Were Watching God.
American Literature,67(1), 115142. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
King, S. (1990). Naming and power in Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. Black American
Literature Forum, 24(4), 683696. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Krasner, J. (1989). The life of women: Zora Neale Hurston and female autobiography. Black American
Literature Forum, 23(1), 113126. (Retrieved from JSTOR on December 27, 2007.)
Kubitschek, M.D. (1983). Tuh de horizon and back: the female quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Black
American Literature Forum, 17(3), 109115. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Marks, D R. (1985). Sex, violence, and organic consciousness in Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were
Watching God. Black American Literature Forum, 19(4), 152157. (Retrieved from JSTOR on
September 10, 2007.)
McCredie, W. J. (1982). Authority and authorization in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Black American
Literature Forum, 16(1), 2528. (Retrieved from JSTOR on December 27, 2007.)
McGowan, T. (1999). Liberation and domination: Their Eyes Were Watching God and the evolution of
capitalism. MELUS, 24(1), 109128. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Newman, J. (2003). Dis aint Gimme, Florida: Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. The
Modern Language Review, 98(4), 817826. (Retrieved from JSTOR on November 15, 2013.)
Pondrom, C.N. (1986). The role of myth in Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God. American Literature,
58.2, 181202. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Quinney, L. (2009). William Blake on self and soul. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Ramsey, W.M. (1994). The compelling ambivalence of Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God.
The Southern Literary Journal, 27(1), 3650. (Retrieved from JSTOR on August 4, 2015.)
Simmons, R. (2002). The hierarchy itself:HurstonsTheir Eyes Were Watching Godand the Sacrifice of
Narrative Authority. African American Review, 36(2), 181193. (Retrieved from JSTOR on December 27,
J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552 51
Smith, H. J. (2008). The poetry of William Blake. Blooms classic critical views: William Blake. Edited by
Harold Bloom. New York: BLC.
SparkNotes Editors. 2007. SparkNote on Their Eyes Were Watching God. SparkNotes LLC.
Retrieved October 1, 2014 (
Thompson, G.E. (1994). Projecting gender: personification in the works of Zora Neale Hurston. American
Literature, 66(4),737763. (Retrieved from JSTOR on November 15, 2013.)
Tung, C. (1997). Blakes dialectic vision. Journal of the College of Liberal Arts 27: 193211. Retrieved
October 8, 2014 (
Wall, C.A. (1989). Mules and men and women: Zora Neale Hurstons strategies of narration and visions of
female empowerment. Black American Literature Forum ,23(4), 661680. (Retrieved from JSTOR on
September 10, 2007.)
Wikipedia Contributors. (2014). Pear. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 8, 2014 (http://
Wolff , M.T. (1982). Listening and living: reading and experience in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Black
American Literature Forum, 16(1): 2933. (Retrieved from JSTOR on September 10, 2007.)
Wordsworth, W. & Samuel T. C. (1991). Lyrical ballads.EditedbyR.L.BrettandA.R.Jones.Londonand
New York: Routledge.
52 J Afr Am St (2016) 20:3552
This companion is the first book of its kind to focus on the whole of European Romanticism. Describes the way in which the Romantic Movement swept across Europe in the early nineteenth century. Covers the national literatures of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia and Spain. Addresses common themes that cross national borders, such as orientalism, Napoleon, night, nature, and the prestige of the fragment. Includes cross-disciplinary essays on literature and music, literature and painting, and the general system of Romantic arts. Features 35 essays in all, from leading scholars in America, Australia, Britain, France, Italy, and Switzerland.