Notes on Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Topic Tracking: Identity

Chapter 2

Identity 1: Since childhood, Janie has never had a firm grasp of her identity. She didn't realize she was black until she saw a picture of herself one day. Also, she didn't ever have a set name because everyone called her by so many names.

Identity 2: Janie is not raised with her mother and has very little knowledge of her family history. She knows that her grandmother and mother were both raped by white men. Janie also never knew her father.

Chapter 3

Identity 3: Janie has a realization that being married does not necessarily mean that there will be love. From learning this, she becomes a woman.

Chapter 5

Identity 4: Janie does not have much of a say when it comes to expressing herself. Joe makes her tie up her hair and he forbids her to just be herself. Hiding her hair, Janie does not have a strong grip on her identity.

Chapter 8

Identity 5: Janie argues with Joe that he never allowed her to show him who she really was because he was always restricting her. For example, he made her tie up her hair, and he never allowed her to speak.

Identity 6: Janie gains some sense of identity as she finally unties her hair, which Joe made her keep tied. This is a pivotal moment in terms of Janie gaining a hold of her identity.

Chapter 9

Identity 7: Janie feels free of the restrictions that Joe always placed on her now that he is dead. She is going to live her life as she pleases by doing what she wants to do.

Identity 8: She realizes that her grandmother had the wrong idea when it came to finding and fulfilling your dreams. Her grandmother wanted Janie to search for things, but Janie really just wanted people and most of all, love. She knows that now.

Chapter 11

Identity 9: Tea Cake makes Janie aware of how beautiful she really is. He tells her that he bets she never looked at herself in the mirror. It was true; she hadn't. When he leaves that night, she looks at herself in the mirror.

Chapter 12

Identity 10: Everyone in Eatonville starts to judge Janie about her spending so much time with Tea Cake. Janie does not care what anyone else thinks. She is going to do what makes her happy now. Her grandmother's idea about just making it up on a high chair does not fulfill Janie. Janie wants to search for a far horizon.

Chapter 18

Identity 11: Tea Cake makes Janie feel things she never thought she would ever get the chance to feel. She says that he made something out of her and she doesn't care what they go through together, as long as she is with him.

Chapter 20

Identity 12: Janie has been to the horizon and back. She has gone out and searched actively for her dreams.

Identity 13: Janie pulls in the horizon that she has spent her whole life searching for. She calls her soul to come in and see. Where once her soul was separate from her, it is now a part of her.

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