The Road To Happiness Essay, Research Paper
Emptiness. This emotion is what Janie experiences at the beginning of Their Eyes Were Watching God. This lacking makes life practically unbearable for Janie, and she tries to find completeness. She tries various things to alleviate this feeling. Through the quests Janie undertakes, she grows and finds completeness in her life.
The entire book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is one complete quest for Janie, although her quest has failures and it restarts several times. Her quest does not really begin until she runs off with Joe. When she marries Logan Killicks, nothing is lacking in her life. She is forced by her grandmother who “wants to see you [Janie] married right away” (13). This act of her grandmother, though, makes Janie see that life with Logan is incomplete, and her life needs something more. Logan treating her like an animal makes her see that her life with Logan is lacking love. It calls her to cross the threshold and run away with Joe Starks. However, this quest with Joe turns out to be a failure. She faces challenges such as being stuck behind a counter all day and not being allowed interaction on the porch. Everyday that passed “the more fractious he [Joe] became with Janie” (74). These challenges are too much for Janie to handle, and she abandoned the quest. The abyss is never reached in this quest. Therefore, she has nothing to bring back from it. She must wait to a later time to complete her quest.
Janie’s other attempt, which turned out successful, occurs when she runs off with Tea Cake. While she is with Joe, Janie’s life is lacing contact with people. Her day is spent standing behind a cash register. Interaction with people is nonexistent. This emptiness is when the call for Janie’s final quest occurs. Janie starts her quest when she decides to marry Tea Cake and run off with him. Throughout her quest with Tea Cake, many challenges occur. When they are first married, Tea Cake takes Janie’s money without her knowledge. Janie thinks of Mrs. Tyler who had been in a similar situation and “woke up to find all her money gone” (114). However, Tea Cake returns with more money then when he left. Janie surmising that Tea Cake is being unfaithful when he was not also put strains on their marriage. Janie sees Tea Cake in the fields with Nunkie and she thinks Tea Cake is cheating on her. He “hurt mah [Janie's] heart” by being with Nunkie (131). Janie and Tea Cake experience troubles because of Nunkie. The biggest challenge, which is also the abyss of Janie’s quest, occurs when Janie must shoot Tea Cake. He becomes a danger to Janie and to protect herself, Janie kills Tea Cake. This event is the most troubling for Janie-she has to kill the man she loves. However, this event actually helps to complete Janie’s quest. When she returns to Eatonville, her “place tasted fresh again” (183). “Absence and nothingness” are no longer with her (183). It is ironic that she can not find peace until Tea Cake, her love, dies. But only then, she can be totally independent and still reminisce in the great memories she has of him. She accepts herself as begin happy even without Tea Cake.
Janie’s quest ends up being successful, even though some attempts failed. She is able to find peace and completeness in her life. The only physical thing that she returns from her quest with is a packet of seeds that Tea Cake was going to plant. These seeds symbolize that Tea Cake will continue to exist and grow in Janie’s life although he is dead. More important than that, she brings back with her happiness in her life. She lived life for herself and is complete. Even though the challenges were tough, she comes back a better person because of them. She then tells her best friend Pheoby about it, and she is going to tell others about Janie’s quest. Janie’s quest is modern in the fact that she does not actually have a physical fight. However, she does follow the traditional pattern for a quest. She is called away from her life that is lacking to find a new self. She faces difficult challenges but comes back better off than when she left. The quest also gives insights to the reader. Every person “got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves” (183). No one else can live for you. Janie returns from her guest better off than when she left and passed that information onto other people.
The quest that Janie participates in allows her to grow and become complete. Her marriage to Logan shows the incompleteness in her life, and she tries to break from this rut by marring Joe Starks. This route, however, fails, and the quest must be restarted. She tries again with Tea Cake and is successful. Through her hardships and challenges, she returns as a more complete person. Even without Tea Cake, she has his memory and feels complete and peaceful. Janie’s quest was successful and made her life complete.