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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What do you think Janie means when she says, "Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes it's shape from the shore it meets, and it's different with every shore"?

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Janie is a resilient person who continues to seek a loving relationship even after enduring misery with both Logan and Joe. She understands love as a force, like the ocean’s waves, that will continue to do what nature intends it to do regardless of human wishes. The force will always come into contact with a solid substance. She compares the meeting of the waves and the shore with the way love affects each person differently. The shore has its original shape and composition but will always be altered by the sea pulsing against it. The water also nourishes the creatures that live along the shore. In the same way, a person is unique and will react differently to the force that is love. Those who try to stay apart from the force of the waves—staying away from shore on the horizon—are not fully engaged in life and, though they may avoid getting battered, will also miss out on the benefits—the things caught in the net.

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