Has anyone questioned the fact that Janie never had children, and the impact it had on the story in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like to believe that the reason Janie never gives birth is that she is the focus of the story. The point of Their Eyes Were Watching Godis Janie's emotional, spiritual journey into her own identity. Not to be insensitive, but one has to discover one's own self before he/she can take on a different role. Frankly, children would have complicated the story, and taken from the focus of Janie's life story. Unfortunately, this happens so often in real life: women become mothers and find themselves responsible for another living being before they truly know who they are, and then they don't have the opportunity to find their identity again.

Some will argue with me, perhaps even saying it's only through motherhood that a woman can find her true self. However, I firmly believe that in order to ever love someone else, you must know and love yourself first. That goes for best friends, spouses, children, whomever. That is Janie's goal throughout the story. It is her journey, not her child's, not her husband's, and Hurston needs Janie alone to find herself.

kittythyme | Student

A mother lives for her child; therefore, Ms Hurston didn't want Janie's identity to be mixed in with her maternal love for her child.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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