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What is the relationship between Nanny and Janie?Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora...

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ramennoodles1042 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 4, 2010 at 10:33 AM via web

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What is the relationship between Nanny and Janie?

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

the reason i ask this is because it was nanny who raised her and not her real mother, and im trying to figure out nanny's influence on her.

quotes from the book would be helpful :)

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 4, 2010 at 11:22 AM (Answer #1)

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In Their Eyes Were Watching God,the protagonist Janie is raised by her grandmother, Nanny Crawford.  Nanny grew up as a slave, which means her view on the world and what mattered was not the same as others' might have been.  Their relationship was comfortable but grew more strained as both of them got older.  Nanny was concerned about several things which shaped her grandaughter for the rest of her life.  First, because she grew up with nothing, financial security was very important to Nanny.  The impact on Janie, of course, was that when Nanny understood her time on earth was nearly over she was determined to see that Janie was well provided for after her death.  To do that, Nanny married Janie off to the much older--but financially secure--Logan.  Second, Nanny was quite concerned about maintaining respectability.  When Janie enters adolescence  she begins to be attracted to boys, of course, and the boys begin hanging around regularly.  Nanny notices and, rather than talking to Janie, scolds her and marries her off at the first opportunity out of fear.  Janie was following the irresponsible path her mother took, and Nanny wanted to change her course.  Finally, Nanny wanted more social opportunities for Janie than either she or Janie's mother had.  Once again, the answer is marriage to a financially secure and respectable man.  This marriage is doomed from the start, though; even though Logan can provide material things, there is no love. After the loveless and confusing marriage happened, the relationship between Janie and Nanny was strained; Janie was first confused then resentful at what Nanny had done.  Once Nanny died and Janie began to mature, she better understood that her grandmother loved her and was only trying to do what was best for her.  Nanny did the best she could, it seems to me, but she totally discounted some other things that mattered, like love.  In the end, Janie's journey would have been much different--though probably somehowlower or more common, I think--if she hadn't become a woman in the house of Logan Killicks as determined by her grandmother.

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