Their Eyes

“She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman.”

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013.

A sadistic approach to womanhood, that you become one once your dreams die. This could be applied to adulthood in general, when you stop imagining you become a grown-up.

“She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside there to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered. But looking at it she saw that it never was the flesh and blood figure of her dreams. Just something she had grabbed up to drape her dreams over” (72).

Image shattered…absence of image, Jody demoted to an “it;” literally “objectifies;” turns him into object rather than herself.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.

 

Their Eyes Were Watching God.

“If you don’t want him, you sho oughta. Heah you is wid de onliest organ in town, amongst colored folks, in yo’ parlor. Got a house bought and paid for and sixty acres uh land right on de big road and . . . Lawd have mussy! Dat’s de very prong all us black women gits hung on. Dis love!” (23). 

The practice of arranged marriage is a tactic used by the well-off to maintain economic and social roles — marriage can combine wealth and power. In this case, the intent of arranged marriage is quite the opposite: Nanny finds Janie a husband in order to protect her from abuse. “Sixty acres” being the promise of reparations post-slavery is a symbolic attempt to demarcate social class even within an already oppressed group — yet another tactic adopted from the powerful.  

 

Mrs. Dalloway

“But often now this body she wore (she stopped to look at a Dutch picture), this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing — nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.”

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005), 10

Clarissa completely loses her identity through marriage. She feels utterly insignificant and  identifies herself solely as Richard’s wife. Clarissa has lost all ambition and sense of self.

The Beast ITn The Jungle

“But the devil in this was that the very basis itself put marrying out of the question. His conviction, his apprehension, his obsession, in short wasn’t a privilege he could invite a woman to share; and that consequence of it was precisely what was the matter with him.”

Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” in Major Stories & Essays(New York: Library of America, 1999)

This passage seemed odd to me because he’s stating that he can’t burden a woman with the issues he deals with every day, and that’s why marriage isn’t in the cards for him. However, he does burden May with it as she already knows the secret. It seems like he’s making up excuses to be unhappy, or stressed.