Sunday, March 1, 2009

Setting- The Town and The Muck

After reading Their Eyes were Watching God, it is clear how the different settings throughout the story apply to the plot of the story and the changes in Janie's life. Hurston does a fantastic job of changing the setting from Janie's time with Joe to her time with Tea Cake. In Eatonville, Janie is "civilized" yet unhappy because she is removed from all that is exciting and enjoyable. There is plenty of excitement in Eatonville, from large social gatherings to simple conversations that take place outside the store. The once sleepy town is booming. Yet Janie cannot enjoy any of it because Joe restrains he, wishing to use her as a symbol of his power and not have her intermingle with the more base residents of Eatonville. And so Eatonville promises excitement and happiness, but it is out of Janie's reach. Sound familiar? With his clever words, Joe promised Janie a happy life with him. He seemed to be the perfect man for Janie, one who would treat her as an equal and love her passionately. But such beliefs turn out not to be true, and so do the promises that Eatonville offers. The Everglades are completely different from Eatonville. The "muck" as the Everglades are called have all of the raw, uncivilized excitement that Eatonville lacks. Janie takes a liking to outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. Her life on the muck is far from civilized, yet it is as close to bliss as she has ever come: just like her life with Tea Cake. With Tea Cake in her new home, she is free to do what she pleases without worrying about what society thinks. She and Tea Cake are the first to join in on the Bahaman dances. It is things like these that she could not have done in Eatonville that make her happiest. Janie is much more happy with a crude, dirty (dare I say mucky), but free lifestyle with Tea Cake than she is in the civilized confines of Eatonville with Joe

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