Monday, March 2, 2009

Caught in the middle: Janie’s constant struggle to find her place in society
-JimmyEatWorld: the Middle

Throughout the course of TEEWG, I have realized that Janie is constantly trying to find her place in society. Janie never feels like she is entirely apart of the black community and at the same time cannot join the white community either. The reader has to keep in mind that Janie is not fully black and therefore has some physical Caucasian traits (her straight hair). One example of this is seen through the character Mrs. Turner who “didn’t cling to Janie Woods the woman. She paid homage to Janie’s Caucasian characteristics and such. And when she was with Janie, she had a feeling of transmutation, as if she herself had become whiter and with straighter hair” (145). *this once again also ties into the idea that Janie’s hair makes her a powerful individual. I also don't believe that Janie ever truly felt that she fit in with the Eatonville community. She always seemed distant from the rest of the community. It was almost as if her white qualities (her hair) make people in the black community look at her in a different way. Everyone seems infactuated with it as I said before in my symbol post about her hair.

Also, during the trial that Janie was put in after she shot Teacake, the black community at first ostracized her feeling that she had done wrong and was a horrible person: " They were all against her, she could see. So many were there against her that a light slap from each one would have beat her death" (185). The white community however supported her. She was tried in front of an all white court that determined that she was not guilty. I wonder if Hurston is trying to prove how difficult it is to figure out where one belongs or if she feels that one needs to find their place in a community.

I feel like this idea is a relatively big one so feel free to add onto it :)
-Erin :)


  1. Interesting blog post Erin!! I never really thought of Janie wanting to find a place in society, I always viewed it more as fulfilling life fully for her self. But you make really good points about her not knowing where she belongs. I like it!

  2. I agree with Katie, you do make interesting points. I suppose this has ties to Hurston's personal experience.. I have read commentary on modern day African Americans with one black parent, and one white, and how they do not know how they fit into society. I think Hurston's novel is less of a way to complain, but more of just a note on how sometimes it is difficult to know where one belongs. With that being said, I think Hurston uses TEWWG as a way to express to her readers that it is okay to feel out of place because they are not alone, others have felt similar pain. Empathy can be the best medicine, and it certainly would apply here.