Can you explain the quote from the book listed below? It is at the very end of the book.THis is at the end of the book and about the character Janie.  Can someone explain their interpretation?  ...

Can you explain the quote from the book listed below? It is at the very end of the book.

THis is at the end of the book and about the character Janie.  Can someone explain their interpretation?   "She 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 of life in its meshes. She called in her soul to come and see."

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Much of the narration in Zora Neale Hurston's novel Their Eyes Were Watching God borders on poetry. As such, it doesn't always lend itself to a simple summary. The passage that you quote seems to me to fit into this category of writing.

One thing that connects this passage with the rest of the novel is the image or metaphor of the "horizon." The horizon, of course, is always far away from us; it is the place where the earth and sky appear to meet. In the novel, the horizon is used to talk about possibilities in life that are ahead of us, perhaps even out of reach.

Janie is often looking toward the horizon throughout the novel. She wants more from life than she is getting. (For example, she agrees to marry someone whom she does not love, and she suffers for it until she finally realizes that she has to move on to find what she wants out of life.) In this passage at the end of the novel, she seems to fully understand her own power to get more out of life. In this passage, she is active and owns her future: she "pulled" it to her and "draped it over her shoulder."

The enotes study guide for Hurston's novel has a section on the themes (see the link below) . In a subsection on the theme "Search for Self," this same passage from the end of the novel is quoted and interpreted as follows:

In the closing lines the narrator tells us, "She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net," indicating that she no longer has to seek for meaning outside of herself in the world; she has found it within herself.

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