Their eyes were watching is a story of Janie Crawford such for love. As told in the form of frame, Janie makes a return journey to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida, after being absent for nearly two years. Her neighbors are eager to know where she had been and what has occurred to her. They are shocked to see her come back in dirty overalls when she left in clean bridal satin. Janie narrates her story to Phoebe Watson and after the story is over, the novelist returns back to Janie’s back steps. Hence the story which in reality spans for almost forty years in Janie’s being is ‘framed’ by a sunset visit involving two friends.
Phoebe Watson is Janie’s greatest friend and confidante. The whole book is a description of Janie’s life narrative, as told by Phoebe. Janie adores Phoebe for her unbolt ear and her non hypocritical attitude. She is actually the channel Janie needs to expel her feelings regarding Joe Starks, marriage and tea cake. Phoebe defends Janie’s behavior and takes a contemporary standpoint- that Janie is her lady and has a firm ground behind all her deeds. As a friend, Phoebe’s loyalty is moving and manipulates to readers to perceive Janie in a positive light.
Phoebe is compared to characters in the bible, both in the New Testament and the Old Testament. For instance, Phoebe is seen as a companion to Janie Crawford. Phoebe’s lone purpose in Hurston’s story is to act as a confidante to Janie. She is the compassionate ear to which Janie is able to pour her entire feelings and emotions into. Phoebe’s motive is totally unselfish. She is inaudibly certain that Janie will talk to her and clarify what took place during the past one year and a half. Phoebe welcomes her pal with the gift of foodstuff. Janie tells Phoebe that Tea Cake did not run off with the cash that Joe left her. She further tells Phoebe that the money is safe in the bank and that Tea Cake had died. Janie then informs Phoebe about the months she had spent with Tea Cake. All these happen after Janie has had enough resting and soothing of feet. (Hurston 6). Phoebe’s actions toward Janie are a clear indication of how she is the best companion for Janie after her comeback given that she was away for one and a half years. Phoebe can be compared with Mary in the bible, the virgin mother of Jesus and then wife of Joseph. Mary humbles herself and accepts to be a companion to Joseph despite all the public humiliation and danger that would follow. Mary accepts to be married to a carpenter who was seen to be a poor man. This clearly defines how Mary is humbled and a true companion to Joseph. (Mathew 1)
In addition, Phoebe is compared with Moses in the bible since they both come out to be compassionate and mediators between two people. In the narrative, Phoebe defends Janie to the porch sitters. She definitely believes that Janie does not have to share any of her private dealings with them. She makes an assumption that Janie is hungry and thereafter she volunteers to find Janie a port of mullet rice. She then finds her way through the darkness to Janie’s back steps. (Hurston 7). By comparison, Moses is seen as a hesitant redeemer of Israel in it migration from oppression to the Promised Land. Moses is seen as the mediator between Israel and the people, transforming the Israelites from a demoralized ethnic cluster into a land founded on spiritual laws. His celebrated miracles before pharaoh make him a great conqueror of the Old Testament.
Moreover, Phoebe is seen to be rational. She acts as a legal voice of rationale, presenting all of community’s norms not in a negative critical light but as they were supposed to be balanced prescriptions to keep women out of danger. Phoebe stood up sharply so as to protect Janie from those who were forcing her to narrate what had happened to her while she was away. Phoebe insisted that it was not their business to know Janie’s private affairs. (Hurston 6)Her reasoning was tending to present the society’s norms that go around protecting women from danger. In the bible Abraham is also seen to be rational. He is presenting the beliefs of the society as per the ancient days. Abraham practices the monotheistic adoration of God and he has a strong faith in his creator despite the many challenges he is facing. His faith sets the pattern for the Israelites religious view of righteousness.
On the other hand, Phoebe is identified to be non judgmental. She gives Janie a benefit of doubt at the time when the townspeople are gossiping fiercely about Janie. She becomes an audience to Janie’s story and her being there is irregularly felt in the informal speech that the narrator mixes in with a more complicated narrative style. Phoebe is also the channel Janie needs to expel her emotions and feelings about Joe Starks, marriage and Tea Cake. Unlike much of Eatonville, she defends Janie and takes a very contemporary stand. In the bible, Job remains truthful to God even with all the suffering he is undergoing. The topic of God and Satan’s immense experiment is to determine human faithfulness to God amidst of intense pain. Job scorns poor nutrition and the recommendations of his friend’s instead of questioning God’s role in human suffering. Job hesitates to make a final judgment on God since he has a strong faith on him. This clearly compares him to Phoebe in the story their eyes were watching God.
Another trait that is comparable to a trait in the bible is curiosity. According to the story their eyes were watching, (Hurston 10) Phoebe is eagerly waiting to listen to Janie’s story concerning her past.
They sat there in the fresh young darkness close together. Phoebe eager to feel and do through Janie, But hating to show her zest for fear it might be thought mere curiosity. Janie full of that oldest human longing self revelation, Phoebe held her tongue for time but she couldn’t help moving her feet
Phoebe’s curiosity makes learn that Tea Cake had died. She is even more curious to know why Tea Cake died. In the bible story, Eve became curious to know the Kind of fruit they were prohibited from eating. Satan in the form of a snake appeared to Eve and urged her to try the forbidden fruit. Satan convinced Eve that upon eating the fruit, they would become as wise as God. Due to curiosity, Eve went ahead and consumed the forbidden fruit. Eve also went and convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. Eventually, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. All these actions were out of curiosity. They therefore had to face the consequences of being disobedient to God.
Phoebe is also seen to be very ambitious. At the end of the novel, Phoebe tells us that the story of Janie has made her grow ten taller and encouraged her to go fishing. Due to responsibilities of marriage, Phoebe is not able venture the way Janie does. Phoebe represents the audience; just as Janie tell her story to Phoebe. Hurston, through Phoebe expresses her desire for the readers of the story to be mobilized into action through Janie’s story the same way Phoebe has been. In the bible, David is identified to be as ambitious as well. His is known for facing the giant Goliath and bringing him down with a sling and a stone. He is remembered for showing a high level of ambitions by writing several psalms. His ambitions enable him to be recognized as one of the most prominent kings of Israel, one of the greatest men who ever came into being. David also had an ambition to bring the Arc of Covenant to the capital of Jerusalem. The Arc of Covenant was Gods symbol in Israel. It had been long awaited for. When David brings it to Jerusalem, he achieves his ambition of unifying religious and political life of Israel in the Promised Land.
Another comparison between Phoebe and the characters in the bible is based on the act of caring for each other. Phoebe really shows a great concern when Janie arrives after one and a half year of disappearance. Phoebe ensures that she goes to get Janie something for her stomach.(Hurston 7) She does it hurriedly having in mind Janie’s situation.
Phoebe hurried on off with an enclosed bowl on her hands. She left the verandah pelting her back with unasked questions. They hoped the answers were harsh and strange. When she arrived at the place, Phoebe didn’t go in by the front entry and down the palm walk to the front entrance. She went around the hedge corner and went in the closed gate with a plate full of mullet rice.
In the bible, God is noted as the most caring being. He is the creator of the world and the most powerful being. According to the bible, God cares for his creation by offering protection to human beings. In the Old Testament, God intervened to those who believed in him during wars and times of difficulties. He manifested himself in the form of an angel, fire, wrestler and a silent whisper. God also cared for his people during hunger. He provides for the Israelites by providing manner and water when they were starving. As the figurehead of the Israelites and force behind every event, God reveals his plans by speaking to the people. His physical manifestations are not direct. We are reminded that the Lord is our shepherd for we shall not want. (Psalm 23)
Phoebe Is Janie’s best friend in Eatonville. Phoebe tries to understand Janie’s situation at the time when every member of the town is seriously gossiping about her. Phoebe pays keen attention to Janie’s story. This is evident in the colloquial speech that the narrator mixes with the complicated narrative styles. (Hurston 7). According to the bible, Jesus had a very close friend who was among his disciples. Jesus and the disciple John were essentially best friends. Jesus entrusted him with the care of his mother. He also gave John the apparition of transfiguration and allowed him to watch his wonderful miracles. Jesus later on gave John the book of revelation. It is only the gospel of John that mentions the disciple whom Jesus loved. This clearly indicates how much Jesus and John were great friends. Apostle John is seen to be the longest living disciple according to the early church doctrine in the bible. This to Some extent may also show us how much Jesus and John were great friends.
Furthermore, Phoebe is seen as a very reasonable being. She makes good reasoning at the time when Janie comes back in a dirty overall. Phoebe ensures that Janie is not humiliated by the public at the time she arrives. She defends Janie by telling the crowd that it is none of their business trying to find out what took place to Janie at the time when she was away. Janie goes round with a heaped plate of mullet rice looking for Janie. After she finds her, Janie eats as she gives her audience. It would be very unreasonable for Janie to be left eating alone without any company. Phoebe at least tries to make Janie comfortable at the place. She allows Janie to clean herself and have soothing of foot before taking supper. This shows how much Phoebe is reasonable regarding Janie’s situation. In the bible, Noah is also seen to be very reasonable enough. He builds an arc to save the animal population and human race from destruction. He initially makes a decision to inform the human race about the coming rains that would cause floods. Noah therefore forms the first attempt of God to form a covenant with one person through him.
Phoebe can be identified to be very unselfish according to the story their eyes were watching God. She shows this by giving a warm welcome to Janie when she comes back home after Tea Cakes death. Phoebe takes the whole responsibility of preparing food for Janie. This is a clear indication that Phoebe is very generous and understands every person’s situation. According to the bible, Abraham comes out to be very unselfish. This is shown when he offers to sacrifice his only son Isaac as asked by God. He tricks his son and finally he reaches the alter where he is to sacrifice his only son. He attempts to carry out a procedure that many people cannot afford to do. Abraham is stopped by an angel of God upon lifting the knife to sacrifice his only son. This is also a clear indication of how strong Abraham’s faith was.
On the other hand, the story brings Phoebe out as very irresponsible. She cannot get married since she fears the responsibility associated with marriage. This shows us that she is not ready for any responsibility relating to family affairs. The author informs us that Phoebe cannot afford to be married as Janie since she fears responsibility. According to the bible, David comes out to be very irresponsible at the time when he was the king. He sleeps with Bathsheba who was already married. This according to the bible is considered to be adultery. The end result of King David’s act led to the birth of Solomon who also later becomes a very wise and successful king.
Phoebe can also be said to be very interactive. She talks a lot with those who are trying to humiliate Janie at the time when she is back after Tea Cakes death. She interacts fully with the people and warns them against humiliating Phoebe who came back in a dirty overall. (Hurston 7). Phoebe also participates when Janie is narrating her story to her. This is evident by the occasional colloquial expressions shown by the author in between other aspects of literature. Phoebe’s interaction with Janie enables her to know what Janie went through during her disappearance period. (Hurston 8). In the bible, Job is also seen to be very interactive. He interacts with the devil, God and his friends. During the time that Job was being put into temptation, he interacted with the devil that was encouraging him to curse God. The devil informed him that his god was so uncaring and that was the reason behind his suffering. His friends too interacted with him while giving him their pieces of advice. Job also interacted with God while asking him the reason why he had to undergo such suffering. This clearly shows how much Job was interactive. Therefore, Phoebe and Job are seen to have one character trait in common.
Finally, Phoebe is described to be intelligent. This is because she is able to remember the narration she was told by Janie. She there after narrates the whole story of Janie’s life. This indicates her level of remembering events and happenings. Phoebe is intelligent enough to make wise decision when Janie arrives. She saves her from public humiliation and hunger. In the bible, God is identified to be the most intelligent of all beings. It is because of his intelligence that he created the world in a uniform way out of a deformed figure. God’s intelligence is also seen when He advices Noah to build an arc at the time when God destroyed the earth. God’s intelligence is also evident in the bible when He sent His son Jesus to save the world from sins. He sent his son who was to shed blood so as to save the world from satanic ways. God also sent manner and water to the Israelites to save them from hunger. It is because of His intelligence that He them a leader who was to help them come out of captivity into the Promised Land. In the bible, God created the world in an orderly manner and to perfection. He created different things on different specific days and had one day to rest. It is because of His intelligence that he allocated six working days to man and one day of resting. Therefore God is generally said to be the source of intelligence on earth. No any other creature can reach His intelligence since He is also the giver
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