I believe that the Hurricane is a major symbol in Their Eyes Were Watching God. It serves as a natural destruction as well as the contrast to happiness and the pear tree. The pear tree, representing Janie’s pleasure and the beauty of the world, contrasts with the hurricane that represents complete consternation and chaos in Janie’s world. The hurricane makes the characters impugn on whether God is true and genuine. Narrator Zora Neale Hurston states “They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.” Hurston uses this powerful quote to show that it is everyone against God; nature against mankind. This is very important to the book because they question God and wonder if they are really meant to live or if this is God’s way to castigate them. This is the first real inner conflict that the characters have with God and serves as a major purpose to contrast their extreme religious beliefs.
I also believe that the hurricane represents Janie’s independence and all of the scattered conflicts in her mind finally coming to surface. Tea Cake acts as a stalwart to Janie, saving her life from the ferocious, heinous dog. Ironically, Tea Cake's beneficent, heroic quality caused him to eventually die in the end. I believe that this Hurricane served as a purpose to show the readers that although Janie whole heartedly loved Tea Cake, she is still always in conflict with herself and doesn’t know exactly what she wants. The hurricane killed Tea Cake and left Janie with two contrasting emotions; heartbroken and free. Between all the confusion and destruction of the hurricane, Janie theoretically broke free from the fetters that tied her down to society.