Conflict is the struggle of opposing forces within a character, between characters, or the character(s) versus nature. This is important in a story since it acts as a source of change in a fiction that engages the reader of a story. The major conflict in this chapter is when Janie values clashes with what the people were talking about her when she arrived in Eatonville. According to the people, her lover Tea Cake left Janie miserable, but on her side, she was enlightened that she had fulfilled her dreams gained a voice and became an independent woman. The text reveals conflict between Janie and nature, which entails the position of a black woman in the community. The society seems to offer a low place for women, and the people think that Janie has failed. In fact, one of the conflicts arise as a result of this; Janie is in conflict with the town dwellers as when they think she has failed, but she has really gained.
Picture of a black woman in the Novel
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In the novel, black women have a miserable life. Women are used as objects, oppressed, and do not have a voice. This is evident as Nanny is born in the slavery, raped by her master and thereafter, the schoolteacher rapes Leafy.
The great metaphor in this is when the Nanny refers the black women as mules. She tries to compare the fact that a mule is a cross breed of a horse and donkey, and black women who are impregnated by those in authority by force and thereafter lose their identity.
Black woman as a mule is evident as Nanny gives birth to a child with gray eyes and light hair suspected to be the master’s daughter. The schoolteacher rapes Leafy who gives birth to Janie who thinks is white until when she looks herself in the mirror.
The theme of light
In chapter 5, Joe Stark’s masculine power political and economic power makes him the light of Eatonville. He did extra ordinary things like owning a land five times bigger than the town and builds a store, a two-storey house that makes the other houses in the town look like servant quarters, builds a post office and eventually buy a lamp for the town.
Joe Starks is an ambitious, proud, self-centred, jealous, and domineering man. His ambition is to acquire power and recognition. In the novel, when he buys the lamp he gathers the town members to acknowledge its installation. It as well brings out his character as a proud person. At the lamp-lighting ceremony, he want to act like god when he says let the light shine, he tries to compare himself with God who said let there be light, and the light came (Genesis 1:13).
Why Joe Starks forbid Janie from mingling with people in Eatonville
Joes Starks was not an ordinary person; he wanted to live up his status, as he was rich and powerful. He also wanted to take charge of Janie life and tried to make her the woman he wanted. He forced Janies to cover her beautiful hair to keep off any man who would want to lure her as to him that would be an insult to his authority.
The relationship between Tea Cake and Janie
Tea Cake is trying to persuade Janie to trust him that he loves her by swearing to God. He even exaggerates by telling her that her beauty was irresistible even in heaven. This shows that they were both falling in love with each other, and Janie had fears that Tea Cake only wanted to use her in the name of love. Tea Cake has affection for Janie, and understands her well.
The character of Phoeby in the Novel
Phoeby is Janie closest friend in Eatonville. When Janie comes back in Eatonville, town dwellers gossip on how Tea Cake flees from Janie for another younger woman. Despite this gossip, Phoeby gives Janie benefit of doubt and goes to visit Janie who narrates her story to her. Phoeby is the audience in this novel as the whole novel is the narration of Janie story to her.
Janie has a constructive impact on Phoeby as she awakens her feelings towards living towards her dreams. She learns from Janie since Janie has accomplished her dreams of becoming an independent woman who has a voice and focused to fulfil her inner desires. This is evident when she finally declares that she is dissatisfied with her life.
The meaning of the horizon and living by comparison as a life fulfilment
Horizon in the novel is symbolic; it means that Janie achieved limits that she had always desired. Finding love in her life that she had longed since the moment she was under a blossomed pear tree. Her limits are also realized when she feels that she has established some harmony with the world around her and feels at peace.
According to Janie, living by comparison is a life fulfilment. In the novel, she says that a person got two lives one is the life we learn on how to live and the life we live after that. Janie learnt how to live through suffering and struggling, and started living when she got her voice. Even after Tea Cake death, his legacy remains in the new person that she has become.
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