Similarities between Jane from “Jane Eyre”, and Janie from “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

Jane’s temperament throughout the story can be seen to reflects multiple characters in literary history. Being that I recently read the novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, I immediately drew a connection between the two main characters.

When I think of how to describe Jane in “Jane Eye”, I think of independent, love bound, and somewhat defying. Same goes for the character Janie in Hurston’s novel. Besides the fact that there names are fairly alike, they both embody traits that make them different when compared to other women during there era’s.

What stands out is Jane’s strong belief in gender and social equality. Her persona challenges the Victorian prejudices against women during this time, not to mention the poor/lower class citizens. -When she produces feelings towards Mr. Rochester, she first feels inadiquite against his social status, yet later on defy’s that thought and makes the seemingly unhappening, happen by being with him. Mr. Rochester is said to have searched high and low for a lover, but I bet nobody expected him to go for a women of such lower status then he. When Miss Fairfax witnesses the first kiss between Jane and Mr. Rochester, she is astonished and disproves of the marriage while being very cold towards Jane. This kind of pairing between people during this era was not typical.

In “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, Janie the protagonist, defies categorization. In the movie clip of the book I will post at the end, the first two minutes ever so clearly portray exactly how careless and opposed to socail rank she is. The opening scene is Janie walking back into the town she’s from, and being critisized by everyone because of her disheveled apperance. Throughout the novel, Janie is married multiple times. Her first marriage is set up by her Grandmother Nanny Crawford in order to make sure Janie is financialy well off. Being married to Mr. Killicks, felt like being a slave to Janie. He ultimately bought her over based on her phisical apperance and had her do grewling labor. To show her independence, she runs away one day and instead decides to go off with  Mr. Starks. Starks is a very wealthy and known politician and businessman. Janie however, doesn’t go after him for his money, but because his charm convinces her that she loves him. Janie is a character who is strictly in search of love, and independence. As you will see, the first line of the movie is “There’s two things everybody got to findout for themselves. They got to findout about love, and they got to findout about living”. This is percicelsy what Jane in “Jane Eyre” is looking to do.

Jane denies St. John’s proposal simply because she does not love him. When Jane finally reaches Mr. Rochester at the end and tells him she will never leave him again, it’s as if she can only find happiness through marriage. In the end, love outrules all things. Yes, during the year she was away from Thornfield she became more independent, thus finding herself along the way, but she was nevertheless still unsatisfied.

A balance between love and independence is what both these characters need and find in order to feel complete and utter happiness. That being said, Janie in “Their Eyes Were Watching god”, gets married a third time to her apparent true love. Unlike her first and second husbands, Tea Cake (yes, his name is Tea Cake) does not boss her around and make her feel inferior.

Perhaps Jane feels as if she has found her independent yet loving relationship with Mr. Rochester now that he has lost a hand and his sight in the fire set by his insane wife Bertha. Regardless, the fact is that she went back for him without knowledge of the catostrophic event.

I leave you with the movie of “Their Eyes Were Watching God”. Janie is played by Halle Berry which is more reason to watch it in my opinion. If you don’t feel like or have time to watch the entire thing, just watch the first couple minutes to see just how opposed Janie is to the way women are supposed to be acting during this time. Enjoy!



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1 thought on “Similarities between Jane from “Jane Eyre”, and Janie from “Their Eyes Were Watching God”.

  1. Jason Tougaw

    Freud is also famous for his statement that “love and work” are cornerstones of life!

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