Their Eyes Were Watching God Questions and Answers
by Zora Neale Hurston

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What does Janie learn from her three marriages in "Their Eyes Were Watching God"?

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Through her three marriages, Janie learns that equality in marriage is not possible, especially for a woman dually limited by race and gender. However, when she is in her youth, Janie fails to understand this concept. It is only through three marriages with Logan, Joe, and Tea Cake, that Janie comes to understand her own power as a woman.

As a young girl, Janie first senses the power of equality under the ideal image of a pear tree, where nature gives itself to Janie and she offers herself in return. She observes equality when the pear tree provides the bees with nectar and, in return, the bees pollinate the tree’s blossoms: “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her…So this was marriage!" Through the “alto chant” of the bees, and the “panting breath” of the breeze, the pear tree’s “inaudible voice” speaks of...

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