How is sexuality used in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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In Hurston's novel, sexuality is depicted as a rich, natural, and affirmative aspect of life. It's something that her heroine, Janie, enjoys when she's a young woman first learning about her desires, in the context of spring and blooming pear trees, and something that she enjoys when she is a "handsome" older woman who refuses to play the widow for the rest of her life after her husband, Joe Starks, dies. Knowing that she hasn't experienced the love that she really wanted with Joe, who treated her more as an object to be won than as an equal, she finds fulfillment with Tea Cake, who is younger, poor, and itinerant. He is the opposite of Joe, but in being open to a life with him, Janie discovers aspects of herself that she might not have known had she remained in Eatonville as "the mayor's widow." Though she loses Tea Cake, Janie remains grateful for what they shared together. Her relationships with men have enriched her life because of what they have taught her about herself.

Zora Neale...

(The entire section contains 527 words.)

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