How does 'seeing clearly' or 'seeing the truth' help certain characters advance?

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copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An interesting question. All of the characters in Zora Neale Hurston's novel suffer from some kind of restriction of their vision. It is Janie, at the novel's end who seems to come closest to 'seeing clearly'--only after her experiencing through three different marriages and surviving both the hurricane and a rabid Tea Cake.

We see many other characters, however, who display great vision in certain arenas of life only to suffer from a lack of vision in other areas of their life. Take, for instance, Joe Starks. Almost single-handedly, Joe leads the townspeople of Eatonville in creating a growing, bustling metropolis. He suffers, however, from his complete inability to credit or empower anyone else in his quest, including Janie. Even, Tea Cake--meant to represent a kind of romantic hero--suffers from his inability to escape the stereotypes society had placed in his mind regarding class, wealth, and love. His ability to 'see clearly' and 'see the truth' are limited as well.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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