Illustration of the profile of Janine Crawford and another person facing each other

Their Eyes Were Watching God

by Zora Neale Hurston

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Choose one quote from Their Eyes Were Watching God that represents either Janie's American Dream or that of the three communities she engages (North Florida, Eatonville, or the Muck) and explain how.

There are many quotes that represent Janie’s dream of independence and love, but one of the most telling is at the end. She says there are "Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh themselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh themselves." Her emphasis on the need to navigate and learn about life on one’s own shows that she has achieved her dream.

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There are lot of powerful quotes in this novel that represent Janie’s American Dream. At the beginning of the story, Janie is not too certain what she wants out of life. But as time passes and she experiences loss and complicated relationships, her dream of becoming an independent woman and experiencing authentic love becomes clear.

Janie is widowed three times throughout the story, and with each difficult marriage and each loss she yearns more and more for a true, loving relationship. As Janie navigates her relationships, she also begins to understand that love is more complex than she initially dreamed. This realization is quite similar to the American Dream, the notion that everything comes easy in America with enough hard work. However, this realization does not stop Janie from dreaming about love, rather, it makes her dream of a more realistic type of relationship in which she still is independent. Consider what she says at the end of the book about life:

“Two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh themselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh themselves.”

This quote shows how much Janie has learned about independence. She knows that she can still dream about love and relationships, but at the end of the day she has to make it on her own in life. Her emphasis on one’s need to do things alone shows how she feels one can’t learn about life by submitting to a man and that she needs to hold onto her autonomy above all else. This understanding of life represents her dream of independence and shows the reader that to a certain extent she has achieved it.

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