Thursday, March 5, 2009

Perfectly Imperfect

As I write this post, I will be ruining the perfect number of 111 blog posts that have been posted thus far. My hesitation to ruin this perfectly palindromic number made me realize that Zora Neal Hurston was a big fan of using imperfections in her novel in order to stress ideals. Janie's situation throughout the novel always seems like she has almost everything. However she seems to be missing that final link, that last petal of the flower to make it an even 10. For example, her original relationship with Logan Killicks obviously could have been much better even though her physical comforts were all easily met. With Joe Starks it was much the same where she was very well provided for and lived very comfortably but was missing that last thing that would have made her life perfect. Even with Tea Cake she is lacking that final intangible facet of love that would have made her life perfect. The difference is with Tea Cake she feels that she can achieve this last piece to perfection although Tea Cake dies before she can accomplish this.

This lack of perfection is important to Hurston's novel in that it creates a constant struggle for Janie to deal with underneath the obvious conflicts that occur between her and her various partners. Hurston utilizes this tactic to keep the reader interested in the story while nothing is really going on. It is impressive how just when I would be about to put the book down in disinterest, Hurston would remind me just how much improvement needed to happen with Janie's situation as a new problem arose. Hurston perfectly balances the inconsistencies and imprefections that happen in Janie's life with her otherwise comfortable, easy living.

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