In "Their Eyes Were Watching God," what is Janie looking for?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very profound question and speaks to the heart of the novel.  A lot of the answer can be found in the first few chapters of the book.  Janie contemplates her womanhood while sitting under the pear tree.  She is waiting for the other half of herself, the missing piece, the bee to her flower.  She is, in essence, looking for love throughout the novel.

Her first husband offers her none of that.  He is old, and though in his own way he loves her, he is more interested in using her as a farmhand than in the "romantic love" that she is seeking.

Her second husband, Joe, seems to offer her what she is looking for (at first.)  But, as we see during the progression of the story, Joe sees Janie as a trophy wife.  As soon as he has "conquered" her and gotten involved in the building of the town he basically sets her to the side.  He does not give her the romance she wants.

She finds it in tea-cake, the only one who seems to love Janie without conditions.  He is not perfect, but he is fun, he is romantic, and until he becomes rabid he is dedicated to her.

So that's what Janie is looking for...romantic love.


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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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