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Desired EqualityDesired Equality
Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God shows speculation of expressing feminism in a time where women were as equal as mules. Her novel was boldly feminist and was not appreciated until later after her book was published, when feminism was on the rise and after the civil rights movement. The feminism is obvious in the novel and is presented through the main heroine, Janie. In Hurston's novel, the heroine, Janie, represents aspects of feminism when she takes the initiative to liberate herself from each of her three domineering relationships. Janie grows up sheltered from the real world by her Nanny, and creates an ideal of love in her mind that may not be fit for reality. This "pear tree love", as Janie describes it, is far from what any woman could dream of during this time period, especially a mulatto woman. As she grows up, she never thinks herself different because of the color of her skin. Janie can be justified as feminist as seen throughout her three marriages: marrying into security, money, and content. She never finds her sixteen-year-old desires, but she escapes what could tie her down forever. Although Janie expresses a strong sense of feminism throughout the novel, her behavior sometimes contradicts that feministic view of her.
Janie's first marriage begins after her Nanny passes away and thrusts her into the arms of Logan Killicks. Janie realizes that this first marriage isn't ideal to her own desires though, but rather her grandma's gift of security. Logan simply uses her to make money off of her rather than treat her as a companion. An example of this occurs when Logan travels to Lake City to buy a second mule that Janie can plow behind in the potato field because potatoes are "bringin' big prices" (27). Later in the novel, when Janie refuses to work at Logan’s command and says that it’s not her “place” to do so, Logan refutes and reveals his real need for her. He scoffs at her comment and tells her,