In most of the world’s greatest literature, there have been introduced countless courageous characters and triumphant victories. These characters have the power to father strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. Such characters as Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God, Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, June from The Joy Luck Club, and Edna from The Awakening. Throughout each of these magnificent stories comes an example of bravery and courage. Although in some cases, the characters may not generally be perceived by the public to be courageous at all, they demonstrate extreme strength in overcoming adversity.
In Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the character of Janie is a prime example of overcoming adversity. She is faced with racism early in life, and then forced to marry at a young age. In her lifelong search for true love, Janie goes through three marriages, several moves, and an incredible journey of self-discovery. On Janie’s quest for unconditional, true, and fulfilling love, she gains her own interdependence and personal freedom, which makes her a true heroine in this novel. Because Janie strives for her own independence, others tend to judge her simply because she is daring enough to achieve her own autonomy. “Ah wants things sweet wed mah marriage lak when you sit under a pear tree and think.Order now
Ah” (Eyes 23) Throughout the novel, she searches for the love that she has always desired, one that is represented to her early in life by the marriage between a bee and a blossom on the pear tree that stood in her grandmother’s backyard. “She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came over her. She saw the dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold the revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.” (Eyes 10) Only after feeling other kinds of love does Janie finally gain the love like that between the bee and the blossom.
Nanny, Janie’s grandmother and primary caregiver in the novel, gives Janie a kind of protective love, as does her first husband. Janie’s second husband provided he with a kind of escape from this protective and unsatisfying love of her first husband. Joe, her second husband, is a man of lofty goals and charisma, and Janie feels that this might be the first time in her life that she may find true love. However, Joe is extremely possessive and abusive, treating Janie as a trophy. This is a major hardship for Janie, one that she must bravely endure and overcome. In her search for love and losses she suffers, Janie gains independence.
Throughout this quest for independence and love, Janie encounters the harsh judgement of others. One woman, Mrs. Turner, is especially opinionated. ” ‘And dey makes me tired. Always laughin’! Dey laughs too much and dey laughs too loud. Always singin’ ol’ nigger songs! Always cuttin’ the monkey for white folks.
If it wuzn’t for so many black folks it wouldn’t be no race problem. De white folks would take us in wid dem. De black ones is holdin’ us back.'” (Eyes 135) The porch sitters of the novel also serve as a judge to Janie. As the novel opens, they sit and comment about her return and her present lifeless appearance. Mrs.
Turner, the bigoted restaurant owner, judges Janie in a way that she had never known possible; a new, terrible sort of prejudice and ignorance. This Janie got through with her own strong will. Janie definitely overcomes all sorts of adversity and hardship in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Because Janie endures the harsh judgement of others, she is able to gain independence and strength.
In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the character of Edna creates a heroine, although many .