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Honors English II
February 28, 2011
The Impact of Location
For Harry Potter it is impossible for him to be his true wizard self at his dungeon of a house. It’s not until he arrives at Hogwarts that he can show the world what he is capable of. In Zora Neale Hurston’s idealistic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, two settings are contrasted to reinforce the author’s theme of a search for true happiness. The setting of Eatonville, Florida, where main character Janie experiences life as the mayor’s wife, is contrasted with the Florida Everglades, where Janie lives with Tea Cake in a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Hurston describes Eatonville not in a negative way, but more as a place that is not beneficial to an independent woman like Janie. Janie Starks, the wife of the mayor, is sentenced to spend her days as a worker in the town store, hair tied up, and silent. She must deal with money and figures without being able to enjoy the “lying sessions” on the porch, or attending such impressive town events like the “muleogy.”
To the reader, Eatonville represents all that is repressive in life. Janie’s nature is restricted not by the town itself, but by her status in the town. Janie’s life with Joe fulfilled a need ;she had no financial worries and was more than set for life. She had a beautiful white home, a neat lawn and garden, a successful husband, and lots of cash. Everything was clean; A sense of restraint is present in this setting, and this relates to the work as a whole due to the fact that this is the epitome of unhappiness for Janie.
Contrasted with Eatonville is the Everglades or the “muck.” The muck is where Janie can be free. Her hair is allowed to hang down, and she can dance, sing, talk, and socialize with everyone from the Indians to the landowners. The muck is where Janie lives with Tea Cake. He truly understands he beauty and...