Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Symbols: Pear Tree

Introduced in Chapter 2 is a blossoming pear tree. This is a symbol that Hurston uses to portray Janie's entrance into a woman's journey. It symbolizes a woman growing into maturity, just beginning to start her journey. The tree's feminine beauty fascinates Janie, and comforts her in an unexplainable way. The tree brings about the start of Janie's journey of womanhood. Soon after the image of the tree is shown to readers, Janie has her first kiss. This is similar to a Call to Adventure in the Hero Journey. Janie is beginning to feel emotions and act on them, just like most girls. However, Nanny is not too pleased and shares her slavery story. Nanny wants to see Janie protected in a marriage with Logan Killicks before she dies. She does not want to see Janie going through the hardships Nanny had to face. Janie does as Nanny pleases and marries Logan, waiting for love to come with the marriage. Janie is naive for believing that marriage would bring love. She soon discovers in her journey as a woman that love is supposed to bring marriage. She meets Joe Starks and eventually leaves Logan for him. Joe had potential for success. She marries Joe and becomes most people's envy in Eatonville. However, Joe has little respect towards Janie, just as Logan had. 

The beginning of Janie's story is one that one can believe has a hopeful ending. This hope comes from the comfort a young Janie was provided underneath the pear tree. A woman's journey in life is one that Nanny did not prepare Janie for. Janie is a beautiful woman who is just starting to learn the wonders of life. The bees interacting with the flowers on the tree represent the passion inherent in women. Janie longs for bliss such as that of the pear tree and nature. (This is very transcendental of Janie).  From just a few chapters we can see that Janie's relationships and woman journey is not going to be as peaceful, but will still lead her to blossom. She will face the hardships that most woman have to face in society, as well as discovering the hope of life as a woman.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the idea of the pear tree as Janie's call to adventure, as Katie mentioned. At this moment, Janie begins her journey into life. She begins realizing what it means to be a woman in the world she is living in and how her personality fits in with such an image. Even this early in the book, you can tell Janie is different when it comes to love and marriage. She wants to be treated fairly, as an actual person. She wants to be respected. When she mentally proclaims "So this is a marriage!" when discussing the bee and the budding tree, her view of love is apparent. This is what begins her journey to find a perfect man, in her opinion. This is what brings her to kiss Johnny Taylor, then get married to Killicks, then to Joe Starks, and finally to Tea Cake. Every man is a different attempt to find perfection.