During her recreation time, Jackie write book, movie, and also travel reviews. She additionally writes an imaginative non-fiction articles about retirement.

You are watching: Their eyes were watching god movie vs book


I newly re-watched Oprah Winfrey’s created TV movie adaptation the Zora Neale Hurston's Their eye Were watching God, and also was an extremely disappointed. I admire Ms. Winfrey immensely due to the fact that of her inspirational increase to fame due to her persistent search of excellence and also because of her desire to leave something positive for the world, so ns hesitate to be an essential of her pet project. However, her version of this most profound and also uplifting novel fell quick of catching Ms. Hurston’s excellence.

The Movie's Focus

The movie focuses nearly entirely on the love story between reformed playboy, Verigible Woods (aka, Tea Cake) and Janie. However, there space so many much more layers to the novel, consisting of studies in developmental psychology and social anthropology.

The Book's emphasis (in five Parts)

On a psychological level, we see the main character, Janie Crawford, thrive through 4 of the 5 stages the Maslow’s hierarchy of an individual Development (depending top top which version you read). This growth happens over the food of four of Janie's relationship (the last being a connection with herself). A chart of Maslow's hierarchy has been listed for reference below.

This short discussion that the novel will certainly cover the following topics and also their corresponding levels top top Maslow's hierarchy:

Janie's lack of personal identityJanie's first relationship (with Logan Killicks)Janie's 2nd relationship (with Joe Starks)Janie's 3rd relationship (with Tea Cake)Janie's fourth relationship (with herself)


1. Janie—A Woman through No personal Identity

Janie starts out in survival mode, or at the very least Nannie, her grandmother and guardian, does because she is the one that makes significant personal and financial sacrifices in order to do Janie’s life much better than hers or Leafy's, Janie’s missing mother, was. Yet even despite life is pretty an excellent for Janie, she has no feeling of that she is.

When Janie begins to tell her story, her first memory is of having actually no an individual identity. Because that her, this meant:

No secure nameNo social identity (she is garbage by her black color peers because that living in the White folks’ backyard)No family identity (she go not understand her mom or her father)No racial identity (she is startled to learn that she is Black)

Due to this absence of an individual identity, she moves zombie-like with her life and also gives every her strength away—first at age 16 to she grandmother, who pressures her to marry Logan Killicks, an older male whom she barely knows and to who she is no the least bit attracted; then later on to her second husband, Joe Starks.

2. Janie's an initial Relationship (Logan Killicks)

Because the Nannie, Janie continues to be on the 2nd level of personal development—Safety and also Security—for a long time. Nannie’s significant concern once she captures Janie innocently kissing Johnny Taylor at your gate write-up is the Janie will end up used and abused choose she and Leafy were. For this reason, Nannie marries Janie turn off to Logan, who has actually land and money and also can administer financial security, but their marriage only big a year.

In that time, Janie begins to think about her life and also longs for it to be better, a tiny but crucial step in her personal growth. She sees Joe Starks together a method to adventure, something brand-new and different, if not love. Joe, that succeeds in fulfilling his lifelong dream of ending up being a “big voice” by being elected mayor the the newly emerging town of Eatonville, Florida, actually smothers Janie’s search for adventure and also her have to feel linked to a people outside of she hometown.

3. Janie's second Relationship (Joe Starks)

Janie wrongly shifts her dream that adventure come her former dream of emotion loved and tells herself the what she and Joe (a.k.a. Jody) re-publishing is love. However she longs for romance, and also Joe go not have time because that that. Once he i do not care abusive, Janie “learns to hush” and also begins a emotional self-analysis the is just revealed as soon as Joe is on his death-bed. She recognizes that she has actually lived she life for anyone else and also that now that she is about to be cost-free for the an initial time in her life, she is figured out to live because that herself.

Because Joe Starks, like Logan Killicks, detailed Janie v the creature comforts, that meant she go not have actually to focus her energies on “security;” instead, she could direct her fist to the social part of she personality, her desire to be a part of the community. But Joe refused to permit her. He kept her socially isolated, setting her apart and also leaving her lonely and also unfulfilled. There is no that sense of society belonging, Janie can not find the voice she had actually been doing not have for therefore long, the voice that can stand approximately Joe Starks and also demand respect together a person being separate from his and the town’s vision of her together Mrs. Mayor.

4. Janie's 3rd Relationship (Tea Cake)

Once Janie is solitary again (at age 37) she begins her true expansion spurt. She start to have experiences that teach her who she is. She learns to hunt, fish, and also play checkers. She goes come dances, the movies, picnics, and also any other function that brings her delight. This is whereby the love story comes in. She shares many of these experiences v a man named Tea Cake.

When Tea Cake comes along, he offers Janie the most far-reaching piece that advice in the entirety book: “Have the nerve to say what friend mean.” This frees Janie come speak her mind, to tell stories, to interact with the “porch sitters” and also any other people from the community. As soon as she and also Tea Cake marry, their residence becomes a world magnet, and Janie can ultimately feel favor she is part of a community; she finds a location within the team that fits. She association v Tea Cake move her up to the 3rd level the the developmental hierarchy—Belongingness and Love.

5. Janie's fourth Relationship (Herself)

Ironically, the person who helps Janie reach the third level in Maslow's hierarchy likewise forces her to test herself at the next level—Identity Achievement. When Tea Cake is bitten by a rabid dog throughout a hurricane, he transforms violent against Janie, and also she must weigh the value of she life versus that that the guy she loves. Janie chooses herself. She is now solid enough to recognize that Tea Cake is no much longer himself and also if she lets him take her life, they will certainly both be gone. Before, law this would certainly have ruined her, however having emerged a solid sense of self-esteem and also self-worth allows her to do this an option without letting it damage the rest of her life.

The film Falls brief of the Mark

Janie’s life v Tea Cake only lasts about a year and a half, however the movie provides it seem together though the relationship lasted lot longer. Despite it was the most far-ranging relationship of she life—for through it Janie gains the voice (identity) that had been squelched for her previous 37 years and also through that voice saves herself from prison—the love story illustrated in the movie overshadows the extensive character development that takes location in the book. In essence, that’s what the novel is—a research in personality and an individual development. Hurston offers Janie's relationships as the automobile for her growth, together those relationships serve to disclose Janie to herself as well as to she readers. With Janie, we readers can evaluate ourselves, and also thus job-related to accomplish our own identities.

Though the movie version of Their eyes Were watching God, certification Hallie Berry as Janie, go a plausible task of send the love between Tea Cake and also Janie, it, like many movies that shot to record the essence of a great work, misses top top the deeper levels.


Robert Levine indigenous Brookline, Massachusetts top top June 06, 2018:

Brilliant use of Maslow's pecking order of needs to analysis the novel.

i personally loved the movie, however it to be only because i walk not check out the book b4, i review it afterwards. If u read it b4 i would have made u mad. . . Dey left a many out. If u nvr review it the romance in between tea cake and also janie is unbeliveable. Sum mite i dont agree somewont but, i think it to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EricaW top top February 08, 2011:

I completely agree through you, Miller. Together a student analysis the publication for the first time, and having simply watched the movie, ns was an extremely disappointed in the shallowness of the characters. There to be no dept come Janie prefer there was in the book; she to be lofty and also showed really little personal growth. Plus, i really go not obtain the "southern black color vibes" the the publication gave us, the language wasn't strong, and I never got a feeling for any type of of the characters. The publication was so much deeper,more profound.

Elena native London, UK on might 18, 2010:

Great evaluation - first time I have heard that it and from what you have actually written, i would rather read the book. That sounds prefer a very, deep amazing story.

I love the book but to let go the movie since they are usually for this reason disappointing. It's prefer "Slumdog Millionaire" - compared to the book - the movie to be an ethnocentric disgrace.

Most books should it is in left alone however then most people don't read the book. At the very least we still have actually the books of Zora Neale Hurston!

Donna Campbell Smith from main North Carolina on might 17, 2010:

Jackie, that is the many beautifully written testimonial I've ever read. And now, I must re-read their Eyes were Watching God. I read it a long time ago, and also just remember i loved it. You've provided me factor to destruction deeper right into its pages.

See more: Who Are Some Megan Fox Angelina Jolie Look Alike S? Angelina Jolie & Megan Fox Twinning: Look

Ritu Khabia from India on may 16, 2010:

Excellent hub...I particularly liked the connection with Maslow's hierarchy...unusual n insightful view

ericvonjed on may 16, 2010:

The movie was awful, one abomination. The novel, take away at face value with a "close reading" perspective provides insight right into the relationship in between Man and also Woman. Hurston gives insight into the male and also female mind, appropriate there in the very first two paragraphs that the book, v a degree of accuracy matched by no other. The movie was awful, misleading and did not convey the message of the novel.