African American and Janie Essay

Submitted By Jerryfung8C
Words: 635
Pages: 3

Jerry Fung
Ms Prince
AP Lit. and Comp.
23 February 2015
AP free response question In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, two locations were used to represent opposed ideas that contributed to the literary work. The two locations that were utilized include the protagonist’s longest stay in the town of Eatonville, FL and the pivotal migration to the south of Florida to the Everglades. Eatonville is the location where Janie, the main character, married her second husband, Joe Starks, who chartered the first African American town. Janie and her husband lived and expanded the town for over twenty years. The town was only made up of African Americans, creating an ethnocentric environment for Janie. Her long-term marriage caused her to be secluded from diversity. Eatonville represented oppression to her husband and seclusion from the world. Janie was never able to branch of out the town and gain new experiences during her submissive marriage. She was always playing the role of a house wise who alternatively did the same mundane routine every single day. The oppression of her marriage caused a build-up of her craving to leave a broken community to join one that would allow her to grow as an individual. After the death of Joe Starks and over twenty years of marriage, Janie finally had the chance to see the world for herself. Her travels with her new lover, Tea Cakes, to the Everglades in the south of Florida was a monumental step in her life. The transition to the new location symbolized Janie’s growth as an individual. The Everglades represented freedom, which allowed Janie to express herself physically and emotionally. After always being sheltered her whole life by her Nanny (grandmother) and previous two husbands, she was finally able to be adventurous. In the Everglades, migration allowed for Janie to encounter a multitude of diversity. Ethnic groups such as the Haitians, the Seminoles, and Bahama dancers came to work, bringing along their cultures. This allowed for a new perspective of cultural identities. Being introduced to these cultures allowed for Janie to gain a greater sense of her own identity. In Eatonville, Janie was a part of a group of African Americans building a community for African Americans. When she was trying to establish a Black culture and identity with Joe Starks, she lost herself in the process. The Everglades differed in its economic state and rural…