What are some of the metaphors that are specific to comparing human life to nature?Comparisons of nature to daily life

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James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous poster's comments are good. If you are indeed focusing specifically on Their Eyes Were Watching God and follow spottedslinky's very good suggestion to focus on the connections between plant life and the novel's main character, you absolutely must (I write this with a smile!) talk about the connections between Janie and the blossoming pear tree in Chapter 2.

Janie is experiencing a sexual awakening, I think it's fair to say, and that awakening is represented through the symbols of the bee and the pear tree in blossom. Read the passage out loud, slowly, and you're very likely to pick up on the erotic imagery. Of course, it's important to understand, too, that Janie is thinking here not just about sex but also about marriage. Throughout the novel she will be looking for this very thing, a deep and passionate and lasting relationship with someone whom she loves. She finds that relationship with Teacake, and at a later point in the novel, she even likens him to a bee visiting a flower.

spottedslinky eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure if you are referring specifically to Their Eyes Were Watching God. However, when you are looking for metaphors that compare human life to nature, there are several areas you might consider. Some of them are

  • plantlife (trees, flowers, herbs, etc.),
  • animal life (i.e., does the author compare certain characters and their behaviors to particular animals? For example, some are stereotypes, as in "sly as a fox," "loyal as a dog," etc.)
  • weather patterns: storms, hurricanes, wind, blizzards, four seasons, etc.

Can you find selections that contain descriptions of nature in the book you are reading? Are there characters who seem to have the same features as the natural features being described?

Read the study guide:
Their Eyes Were Watching God

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