Describe Janie's relationship with each of her three husbands as it relates to her quest for her truest self.

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sdchumley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Janie wants to find her true self through finding true love -- the love she believes the union of the bee and the flower represent (10-11). Her grandmother believes a woman simply needs protection and a guaranteed livelihood, something Logan Killicks can provide. Janie thinks she will find love with Logan and so she marries him, waiting for "love to begin" (21). Logan's "love" is a lonely one, and Janie sees this is not the type of woman/self she wants to be. When Jody arrives and flirts with her, calling her a "pretty doll baby" (28), she realizes he does "not represent sun-up and pollen and blooming trees" (28), but he does offer her to possibility of further self-discovery. She marries Joe and continues on her journey.

With Joe, she initially enjoys the pedestal upon which he places her, but she soon discovers he is no better than Logan. Joe want to rule her and treats her as a possession. She begins, though, to realize she wants to be her own person, and eventually, she makes her stand, talking back to Joe in front of the townsmen, telling him he "look[s] lak de change uh life" (75).

After Joe dies, Janie truly becomes her own woman, not caring what the rest of the town thinks. When she meets Tea Cake, she finds a man who lets her be herself, a man who is looking for a partner instead of a subordinate. Tea Cake treats Janie as an equal, and so her journey to her truest self is realized.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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