Literary Essay Sample on the Novels Beloved and Their Eyes Are Watching God

Published: 2019-06-04
Literary Essay Sample on the Novels Beloved and Their Eyes Are Watching God
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2008 words
17 min read

Brief Introduction

The novels Beloved and Their Eyes Are Watching God present a significant factor in contributing to the understanding of this works of literature. As such, the aim of this paper is to compare and contrast these novels using the themes of love, slavery or suffering, and memory or past

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Love theme


The novel touches on the facts that makes it all, and are much more horrifying to the readers or the audience. Morrisons inspiration for the model was Margaret Garner, a woman who killed her two-year-old daughter, Sugg in the year 1856 to prevent her from going back to slavery (Rody 2). Her intention was to kill all of her children and finally herself, but before she could finish the act, the slave catcher pried the knife from her fingers. On the backbone of this dreadful novel, Morrison erects Beloved, a novel of a baby who haunts the mother who killed her (Rody 3).

Based on the terms of Morrison, the identified controlling theme is how women can mediate or rather negotiate between their own nurturing compulsions to love the other person, the thing that is considered bigger than they are in their lives, which represent the individual separate self, which has a separate obligations. The motherhood nature rescues Sethe from the shame, madness and the oblivion of guilt as she confronts evil in herself as well as in the institution of slavery. In absence of the under-loved ghost, Sethe might have crumbled from within, pulled apart by her re-memory. Instead, Sethe takes refuge in love for her children, and she tentatively acknowledges the ego that Garner returns to nurture.

The element of strive to love as appearing in the novel results in inhuman choices of committing murder. For instance, first, Sethe opts to discard, either flung abroad or cruelly abort her children to prevent the slave catcher to take them away (George 24). Second, in reference to Sugg: slavery gobbles up the offspring, selling some while chasing others with lashes and dogs. The breast of the slave women that were not sucked, forced them back into indigo or rice fields leaving behind the deep yearning that empowered the woman, Sethe to survive the mammary rape and flee toward the spiritual mother who encourages her to find the grace to herself once again (George 25).

Their eyes are watching God

Love is the most prevalent theme in the novel, which involves Janie searching for true and unconditional love. All along, she encounters different varieties of love in her life (Davis 43). As a result, of her quest for this true love, Janie achieves her independence and personal freedom that translates to be a true hero in the tale. In the novel, others tend to judge Janie just because she is brave enough to achieve her autonomy. The story reveals the results of love, between a bee and blossom that she gets after having to strive throughout as she marries several men in her life (Davis 43).

Janie encounters several types of love all through her life. With her grandmother, Janie encounters a protective love. In addition, her grandmother yearns for her granddaughter, Janie to have a good life than the life she had while she was young, and she did everything in her power to provide the care and safety that Janie deserved. This protective love pushes her Nanny to plot for marriage between Janie and Logan Killicks (Davis 44).

Just like her grandmother, Logan provides a protective love by providing everything that Janie required, but in turn, Janie does not feel satisfied for the love that she has always desired and yearn for. Joe, who is Janies friend and has feelings for Janie, provides an escape plan for the unsatisfying love of Logan. Janie gets the assurance of true love with Joe, who proclaims to treat her like a woman, rather than a subservient wife of a farmer. After being in a marriage with Joe, Janie realizes that she still missing the true love she longed for. The love between Joe and Janie was possessive love. Joe sees Janie as his trophy as well as his possession; hence, expects Janie at all time to follow his orders, just as the people abide by the by-laws created by a state. In addition, Janie is forbidden to interact with play checkers as well as porch sisters of the crossroads stores (Davis 45).

Comparison and contrast of the theme of love

Concerning the two novels, the theme of love is used to present the activities that someone can dwell in to prove his or her worth for love. Both in the scenarios, love appear as a very significant factor, which can push a person to overlook the consequences that are attached to showing love. For instance, Sethe is willing to kill all her children and even herself, just to protect them from undergoing the experience of slavery. in addition, Janie struggles to find for true love, in other words, she is not satisfied, even though she is given all the support, she runs away to seek for true love.

Suffering and slavery


In the novel the sufferings seem to be the root of the characters as they struggle to survive in a society that is cruel and does not observe the well-being of the people, neither does not inquire much about why some things are happening (Morrison 15). Morrison explores the emotional, spiritual as well as the physical devastation brought by slavery, a desolation that continues to haunt the victims who were former slaves even in their freedom. The most recognized dangerous effect of slave is the attached negative impact on the senses of self of the slaves, and the novel, Beloved contains several examples of self-alienation. For instance, Garner is so alienated from himself to the point of not differentiating the screams he overhead if are his or someone elses (Morrison 15). Slaves as revealed by the novel, were sub-human and were commodities traded, whose worth were expressed in terms of dollars. Consequently, Garner is insecure about whether he could possibly be a real man again, and frequently, he wonders about his value as a person (Morrison 15).

In addition, Sethe was mistreated. She once walked in a class when her school teacher was giving lessons on her animal characteristics. As such, she too is alienated from herself and she is filled with self-loathing (Morrison 17). Hence, she views the best part of herself with her children. Her children have unstable and volatile identities. Denver, the daughter to Sethe conflates her identity with that of Beloved, and Beloved feels herself actually beginning to physically disintegrate. Slavery also limited the self-conception of baby Suggs by shattering her family and denying her the chance to be a true wife, sister, daughter, and a loving mother.

As a result of Sethes family inability to believe in their own existence, both Garner and baby Suggs becomes depressed as well as tired. The fatigue created by baby Suggs is spiritual, while that of Garner is emotional. Garner develops a self-defeating coping strategy to protect himself from the emotional pain he was forced to bear while he was a slave (Morrison 18). Garners feeling was locked in the tobacco tin of his heart, and hence he concluded that one was not doing him or herself a favor by loving something so much. Other slaves such as Jackson Till, Halle, and Aunt Phyllis turned insane, hence suffered a complete loss of their own lives. Sethe also fears for her life, that she might end up in insanity. Indeed, she proves this madness by killing her daughter. Yet the acts of Sethe of infanticide illuminate the perverse force of the institution of slavery: under slavery, a mother expresses her love best for her children by murdering them and thus protecting them from the gradual damage brought by slavery (Morrison 18).

Their eyes are watching God

In the novel, their eyes are watching God; sufferings develop in the search for true and unconditional love. The author, Zora narrates the kind of suffering that Janie had to go through from one husband to another until she found true love. For instance, Logan, her first husband, mistreats and threatens to kill her. In addition, her second husband, Tea does fail to consider gender roles and proceeds to force Janie to assist him in some part of his work.

The theme suffering and slavery is evident in the life of Janies grandmother. Her grandmother was once employed by a white known as Mrs. Washburn, who was sympathetic and very helpful to her grandmother. Janie came to find out that she was not white the time she saw her six-year-old picture in the Mrs. Washburns house. As a child, Janie had happy time until the time when a girl picked her at the school. The element of slavery appears in this scenario when the white woman did not want Janies grandmother to leave. This brought issues to the life of Janie and her grandmother.

Comparison and contrast of the theme of Suffering and slavery

The novels reveal that suffering is part of gaining success in life. It is not possible for someone to be successful without passing through stages of sufferings. However, the type of suffering is contrary to each other; hence, the measure to the suffering depends to the extent that suffering affected ones life. For instance, in novel beloved, the suffering Sethe encountered was not option as compared to the suffering Jane encountered. The suffering of Sethe resulted from slavery that even led her to the point of losing her mind, or rather, being insane. On the other hand, Janie suffered from the feeling seeking true love, of which she had an option to stay unmarried if not every man meets her desires.

Memory and the past


In reference to the novel beloved the main character, Sethe is haunted by her personal histories as well as the history of their people. The novel represents a physical manifestation of history that signifies the invasion of the present by the past. As Sethe was near to lose her identity as well as her life via her obsession with her resurrected daughter, beloved, the author demonstrates how much time can be wasted by focusing too much on the past. Eventually, Sethe begins to regain her life by discovering that she has a future. Finally, Sethe learns to let go of the disgusting history that has defined her after the healing of love of Garner, her daughter Denver as well as the black community. In turn, she realizes that she can associate and rebuild her life with the future.

Their eyes are watching God

The memory of a person is essential to the third party to enable them truly understand them. The entire novel, their eyes are watching God, is a protagonist revealing her life tale to her friend so that her friend can understand and accurately judge her (English and Wall 14). Janie narrates her story to her friend Phoeby. Memories are a repository of past emotions as well as experiences, which can later be utilize to draw new understanding (Davis 5). At the end of the novel, memory has revealed a new significance as it facilitates the reconciliation of oneself with the dead, through continuous remembrance as well as a commemoration of the life of loved ones.

Memories also by pass the mind of Janies grandmother. One afternoon when Janies grandmother was sleeping, she saw Johnny Tailor, a neighbor to Mrs. Washburn, kissing Janie. The incident led to the flash back of events in the mind of Nanny, Janies product.

Comparison and contrast of the theme Memory and the past

The two novels beloved and their eyes are watching God reveal a tract of similarities in how themes appear and are presented to fit and present the idea of the authors. The themes; memory and past have been used in a manner that raises the suspense. The style also develops the desires and the urge to read the novels. In this case, the use of this style of writing, in both novels differs sligh...

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