Analyze how Janie's tension between outward conformity and inward questioning contributes to the work in Their Eyes Were Watching God. So this is pretty much the gist of what my essay prompt is asking. I have the idea of writing three body paragraphs: each one about one of the husbands and their effect on Janie's personality, like Logan treated her like a princess at first and then started bossing her around; Jody talked for her and never shut up; then how Tea Cake actually talked to Janie and stuff. Does that sound like it could turn into a full four page essay?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The tension between outward conformity and inward questioning is the very heart of Their Eyes Were Watching God, as Janie's character's iconic status comes from her journey of self-actualization. In layman's terms, that means that Janie transforms over the course of the novel from someone that others want her to be to the person that she truly is. In order to do this, she needs to overcome pressures not only from her husband(s), but also the expectations of society.

Displaying outward conformity, or the apparent appeasement of what society views as ideal, is how Janie spends much of her adulthood. Her grandmother expects her to marry young and become an obedient housewife. She conforms, and does it, even though all the while she is troubled by the fact that she's not feeling love in this union. She continually questions and eventually leaves this situation, but only with Killicks' apathetic blessing.

She thinks she's escaping into love when she runs off with Jody, but this is where...

(The entire section contains 594 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team