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Essay on Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Charater of Janie in Their Eyes Were Watching God

In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie Crawford is the heroine. She helps women to deal with their own problems by dealing with hers. She deals with personal relationships as well as searches for self-awareness. Janie Crawford is more than a heroine, however, she is a woman who has overcome the restrictions placed on her by the oppressive forces and people in her life.

As a young woman, Janie had no complaints about her role in society and fit in as most young people do. Eventually, Janie made it her purpose to outgrow this mold, defying her societal role and fulfilling her dream of becoming the assertive woman she always wanted to be. To personalize the novel, the female perspective is introduced very early in the story. “Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly” (Page 1). This phrase not only explains female dreams in Janie’s world, but it also foreshadows the restrictions placed upon women in that world. “They act and do things accordingly.” Women are expected to comply and not fight when they are told they are not allowed to…

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… Connection: Feminist Strategies in American Fiction. ” Women’s Studies 28.2 (1999): 185-201.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Perennial Classics, 1990.

Interpretations: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Kayano, Yoshiko. “Burden, Escape, and Nature’s Role: A Study of Janie’s Development in Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association (1998): 36-44.

Kubitschek, Missy Dehn. ” ‘Tuh de Horizon and Back’: The Female Quest in Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Modern Critical

A Deconstructionist Perspective of S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

A Deconstructionist Perspective of S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders

The unseen layers present in S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders make it possible for the reader to develop differing interpretations of the novel. The ambiguity of the text is recognized within the deconstructionist approach to literature. Deconstruction allows the reader to focus on particular elements in the text that divulge the underlying themes. In focusing on two key scenes in The Outsiders, deconstruction explains how Hinton’s use of these scenes gives the reader insight into two opposing themes within the text. The two scenes consist of Ponyboy’s and Johnny’s confrontation with the Socs and also when Ponyboy and Johnny save the children in the burning church (54-57; 91-93). In these two scenes, Hinton manipulates the characters’ reactions to illustrate two divergent readings of the text. Critics have consistently argued whether Hinton intended the text to be read as a realistic account of teenage life, or a text that embodies the idealism of youth. I believe the answer lies within both interpretations, for the boys must face the reality of their actions and also individually come to terms with what or whom they consider worth dying for.

In interpreting the text as a realistic account of teenage life, it is evident that the author deals with the real issues that youth face, such as violence and class conflict. The first key scene exemplifies these impending dangers with the boys’ reactions to being surrounded by the Socs in the park. The narrator, Ponyboy, describes Johnny “as white as a ghost and his eyes were wild-looking: (54). Ponyboy implicates Johnny’s earlier encounter with the Socs as the cause of Johnny’s overwhelming fear. Ponyboy …

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… matter of an instant.

In analyzing two key scenes from The Outsiders, the text belies the contradictory themes of the reality of teenage life and the idealism of youth. In focusing on these scenes, the reader observes how Hinton dismantles her own text with her use of oppositions in the reactions of Ponyboy and Johnny. Although two contrasting themes are represented, it is not necessary to choose between them. With the critical approach of deconstruction, the reader recognizes the significance of opposition within the text. I believe this simultaneous understanding of both discourses is the only way a reader can truly appreciate the depth of Hinton’s work, for the greatest enlightenment stems from the realization that the true message lies within the many thematic shades of gray.

Works Cited

Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. New York: Penguin, 1995.

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