The use of symbolism in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
In "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, the author employs the use of symbolism to convey deeper meanings and themes throughout the novel. Through the use of various symbols, Hurston is able to express the struggles and triumphs of Janie Crawford, the protagonist, as she searches for true love and self-realization.
One of the most prominent symbols in the novel is the pear tree. The tree represents Janie's longing for true love and emotional fulfillment. The tree is described as having "sprouted leaves and was so full of life that it seemed to be sporting a new coat of green velvet." This description highlights the tree's vitality and growth, which is comparable to Janie's journey of self-discovery. The pear tree also represents the innocence of Janie's youth and her connection to nature. The tree's branches "hung down to the ground like a mourning cloak," which could be interpreted as a sign of the trials and tribulations that Janie will face throughout her life.
Another symbol used in the novel is the horizon. The horizon represents Janie's desire for adventure and her longing for a better life. Janie looks to the horizon as a way to escape the confines of her small town and the societal expectations that come with it. The horizon is also symbolic of Janie's personal growth and development. As she continues to strive for her goals and desires, the horizon seems to move further away, representing the challenges and obstacles that she must overcome.
The mule is another symbol that is used in the novel. The mule represents the oppression and mistreatment of African Americans during the time period in which the novel takes place. The mule is forced to carry heavy loads and is often beaten, just as African Americans were forced to endure physical and emotional abuse during this time. The mule also represents Janie's struggle to break free from societal expectations and the limitations that come with her gender and race.
The use of the horizon, the pear tree, and the mule as symbols in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" serve to enhance the reader's understanding of the novel's themes and the struggles faced by the protagonist. Hurston's use of symbolism adds depth and complexity to the novel, allowing readers to connect with the characters and themes on a more profound level.
In conclusion, Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a novel that utilizes the use of symbolism to explore the struggles and triumphs of Janie Crawford as she searches for true love and self-realization. Through the use of symbols such as the pear tree, the horizon, and the mule, Hurston is able to convey deeper meanings and themes throughout the novel. The use of symbolism adds depth and complexity to the novel, enhancing the reader's understanding and connection to the characters and themes within the story.