Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Development of a Character with the Use of Figurative Language
Throughout the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, author Zora Neale Hurston is able to go into great detail using various forms of figurative language. With the use of assorted metaphors and symbols, she is able to express the feelings and emotions of Janie, the main character. Zora Neale Hurston uses figurative language in Their Eyes Were Watching God to develop Janie’s character and love life over time.

Janie’s hair is used as a symbol of power that represents her strength, freedom, individuality and beauty throughout the novel. In the beginning of the novel the people in her town make it clear that it is unbecoming for girls of Janie’s age to wear their hair down “What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal?”(Hurston 2). Janie’s continual refusal to put her hair up reveals how strong and self confident she is. As the novel progresses Janie’s way of showing her true beauty and freedom is to let her hair down. All throughout the novel Janie’s hair is almost used as lure when attracting men. Tea Cake is especially attracted to her hair, “Why, Tea Cake? Whut good do combin’ mah hair do you? It’s mah comfortable, not yourn. It’s mine too. Ah ain’t been sleepin’ so good for more’n uh week cause Ah been wishin’ so bad tuh git mah hands in yo’ hair. It’s so pretty. It feels jus’ lak underneath uh dove’s wing next to mah face” (Hurston 103). Her hair pleases not only Tea Cake but Janie herself. Tea Cake touches her hair and gets pleasure from the beauty of it while giving her self confidence and making her believe in herself. Her hair is used a symbol to show who she really is and develop her character.

Like Janie’s hair, the pear tree and horizon serve as a metaphoric symbol throughout the novel. Janie lays under the pear tree to look at the horizon, she sees a bee and a flower in their own happiness and wants to find that for herself “She...