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Zora Neale Hurston's 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' and the influence of Jens Peter Jacobsen's 'Marie Grubbe.'

Despite a great deal of recent interest in the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, her work is still not well understood. For instance, Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road bas been described by various critics as being problematic, enigmatic, and paradoxical. In the same vein, the publication of Mule Bone in the form of a casebook presents for the first time the controversy between Hurston and Langston Hughes over the authorship of the play. Henry Louis Gates has indicated that, while" . . . we can recreate the strange series of events!' surrounding the "extremely ugly affair," we "cannot explain Hurston's motivation for denying Hughes's collaboration, which caused the dispute and the ending of their friendship" (11, 14). Yet, with all of the paradoxes and mysteries that surround her, Hurston is widely acclaimed as an innovative and influential novelist of the Harlem Renaissance period, a pioneering anthropologist, a resourceful folklorist, an uncompromising feminist, a flamboyant raconteur, and a charismatic, though eccentric, personality.

Much of Hurston's appeal has emanated from her close identification with Eatonville, Florida, the small black town in which she was born and raised. Because she collected and published folktales from her home town, and based much of her fiction on characters that she had known, it is generally assumed that the sources for much of Hurston's work are to be found in African American folklore. For instance, in the preface to the 1978 edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sherley Anne Williams mentions "the use of dialect and folklore materials" in that 1937 novel.(1) However, the specific tale which may have inspired the novel has not been identified. One unvoiced assumption has been that Hurston's experience as a collector may have at some point brought her into contact with a folktale in which a womman successively marries three times.

While the reiterative simplicity of the story of a woman who marries three times is a narrative structure that seems indicative of a folkloric origin, it can also be mm as potentially complex enough to serve the formal requirements of a modern novel. Since the plot is accented by the number three, traditionauy a component of magic spells and other folkloric forms, Their Eyes Were Watching God would seem to possess some of the qualities of an authentic folktale. Another theory about the origin of the plot is that the novel was based on Hurston's own life, and M. K. Wainwright has gone so far as to speculate that, like her protagonist Janie, Hurston may have been married to a much older man when she was quite young.

In this essay I would like to explore the proposition that Hurston's novel may have been influenced from a previously unsuspected direction. My speculation is that, early in the process of writing "one of the lesserknown masterpieces of American fiction" (Hemenway, "Soul" xvi), Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston encountered what is today an obscure but brilliant novel by a European male. It is likely that Hurston took violent opposition to the novel which she found offensive because of the portrayal of its female protagonist. According to my reading Hurston chose to respond to the book by creating her own novel, in which she tried to create a more suitable female heroine. In doing so, Hurston, while retaining the general outline of the European text, seems to have discarded many of its elements and rearranged others of its components to suit her own milieu, that of an African American town in central Florida. Hurston not only brought her own thoughts and feelings to the task of creating a new type of fictional portrayal of the life of women, but she also endowed her text with a rich admixture of African American folkways.

She had published Mules and Men, her collection of Florida folklore, just prior to writing Their Eyes Were Watching God, and the Florida setting, the African American vernacular, and the small-town folkways that she had been immersed in while asesmbling that collection constitute important components of Their Eyes. Hurston seems to have drawn upon ancient mythological motifs as well, so that her novel should be seen as the result of a complex blend of literary influences that she added to her own powerful imaginative resources.

If indeed this is how Their Eyes came to be written, then it is imporlant to the understanding of Hurston's creative process and her authorial intention - insofar as we can ascertain what her intention might have been - to recognize the previously unexplored possibility of the direct influence of a European text on her own unique novel.

The novel that may have provided Hurston with her scaffolding the Danish novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen's Marie Grubbe: A Lady of the Seventeenth Century (1876), was richly suited to her requirements, since it was based on a figure that was at once historical and, at the same time, larger than life to a degree that approaches the mythological. Marie Grubbe's unusual life was fictionalized not only by Jacobsen but also by Hans Christian Andersen, who rendered a fairy tale version of her life in his story "Chicken Grethe's Family." The influence of Jacobsen's novel on Hurston is not so improbable as it might at first appear, for as we shall see, the novel was brought to the attention of Hurston's circle by Nella Larsen during a famous literary dispute.(2)

Nella Larsen's mother was Danish, and Larsen lived in Denmark and audited classes at the University of Copenhagen for a short time. It was this unusual background that brought her into contact with Jacobsen's classic of modern Danish literature. Larsen introduced Marie Grubbe to the Harlem community in 1926, when she mentioned the novel in a letter published in Opportunity which offered" a lively rebuttal of Frank Home's penetrating review" of Flight (Lewis 142), the second novel by Larsen's mentor Walter White. Written with help from Sinclair Lewis, Flight was attacked by reviewers, igniting a violent controversy among the Harlem literati regarding its portrayal of female characters. In defending Flight, Larsen made specific reference to the character Marie Grubbe in Jacobsen's novel.(3)

Since Larsen and Hurston belonged to the same social and interectual circles - which included gatherings at Carl Van Vechten's, Walter White's, and Eddie Wasserman!s, and attendance at Jean Toomer's Gurdjieff lectures - it is likely that the discussions of Walter White's character Mimi that took place in these circles (especially in connection with Marie Grubbe) would have made a strong impression on Hurston.

Marie Grubbe was first published in America in an English translation in 1917. Far from obscure during the period in question, the Danish novel had been reviewed favorably in The Dial, the Nation, The New Republic, and the New York Times in 1918. In fact, the reviewer for the Nation went so far as to pronounce Jacobsen one of the greatest writers of prose in the nineteenth century.

Marie Grubbe is a historical novel set at the time of the siege of Copenhagen by the armies of the Swedish King Carl Gustaf in 1659. A woman of extraordinary beauty, Marie Grubbe became a figure of some historical reputation because of her unique and romantic life. She attracted the attention of the two sons of Frederik the Third, King of Denmark, and eventuauy married one of them, Ulrik Frederik Gyldenlove, the Viceroy of Norway. But Urik Frederik divorced Marie in 1670 for her alleged relations with Sti Hogh,(4) the husband of Marie's eldest sister. After a trip across Europe with Sti Hogh, during which she ran through her fortune, she married Palle Dyre, a prosperous farmer. Many years of unhappy marriage followed, and she was to become involved in an open affair with one of the farm workers, Soren Sorensen Moller. Dyre petitioned the king and was divorced by a decree of the court in 1690. Marie subquently married Soren, and for the rest of her long life, she lived beneath her social station and worked for a living by tending a ferry and keeping a poor inn at the town of Falster.

Jens Peter Jacobsen occupies a rather odd place in literary history: He has had an international audience for years (Mitchell 184), and his work is well known to students of comparative literature. Usually thought of as a naturalist because he translated Darwin's Origin of Species and Descent of Man into Danish, Jacobsen was a stylist whose prose has been described as "akin to the opulence of Pater or Swinburne" (Raphael vii) and who has been called" the most exacting master of description" (Mitchell 181). Explanations for the direction of Jacobsen's art are various. P. M. Nfitchell sees him as having pursued the theme of spiritual degeneration, a subject which interested many European writers toward the end of the century (181). While Mitchell indicates that Marie Gmbbe is a psychological novel, he assigns the cause of her degeneration to her lack of a philosophy of life. More to the point is the insight provided by Robert Raphael concerning the sadomasochistic nature of Jacobsen's personality and the influence of this psychological condition on Jacobsen's depiction of Marie Grubbe's life:

. . . Jacobsen reveals, from the outset, the honors of Marie's intensely eroticized personality, which parallels his own. In the sexual fantasies with which the novel opens, eroticism is seen as something that is seareely separable from psychic and physical torment. . . . Through the acute lens of his sustained and exquisite style, Jacobsen probes the abyss of Marie's erotic life, delving first into her fantasy of self-violation in the role of Griselda, and, pursuing her sexual daydream further, the author details a second violation that would end in self-destruction were the dreamer not to awaken fmm her reverie, as she, of course, must. . . . Jacobsen's microscopic eye pursues Marie's erotic frustrations and masochistic gratifications into adult life and old age, and reveals how his protagonist learns to regard and accept unflinchingly the experiences and drives of her personality that cannot be simply wished away. (xvxvii)

It is expressly Hurston's rejection of sadomasochism as a driving force in the psyche of Jacobsen's heroine in Marie Grubbe that characterizes the influence of the Danish novel on Their Eyes Were Watching God. To say this, however, is to leave open the question of the degree to which Janie recapitulates aspects of Marie's character. It would seem that Hurston has not wholly divorced Janie from the influence of her model.(5) Largely to account for Janie's harshness and faithlessness, Cyrena Pondrom reads Their Eyes as a modern reinterpretation of the ancient myth of Ishtar and Tammuz:

Like Ishtar, she discards her consorts when they fail her, and like a special manifestation of the goddess, she could almost be fate at work. . . . when she decides to leave, she seems impervious to the ordinary human emotions of pity and fear, loyalty and guilt. . . . She is as much beyond social law as she is removed from ordinary human emotions: the question of her current marriage never comes up when she marries Joe before sundown. (190)

We can now wonder whether Janie is not only Ishtar but also the Danish beauty Marie Grubbe. If Their Eyes is a novel that describes Janie's psychic evolution, then it is her similarity to Marie Grubbe which she leaves behind over the course of the narrative. Janie cannot be seen as thoroughly endowed with sublimity from the outset of the novel, nor can her cruelty be justified by promoting her to the divine level from the beginning. Hurston's novel is not without recourse to the "mythic method' and her characters have divine aspects. However, while the mythic level of the novel may move from the human to the divine, Janie starts her quest for self-determination and self-definition as a deeply flawed adolescent.

Chapter one of Their Eyes Were Watcldng God establishes the frame for Janie's narrative: Janie Woods has buried the "sudden" dead - her third husband Tea Cake - and returned to her home town on foot. Janie's "kissing" friend Pheoby brings her some food, and Janie, instead of filling Pheoby in on what has transpired since she left home with Tea Cake, relates the entire story of her life. Hurston's use of a frame for Janie's narrative is, for critics, one of the most troubling aspects of the novel's form. Claire Crabtree has observed that "the story is . . . framed by the scene of the two women sitting on Janie's back porch as darkness descends, the frame itself enclosed by the lyric third-person prose in which Hurston writes the first few paragraphs of the novel"(58). The language which constitutes the outer frame has a close relationship with passages in Marie Grubbe. Hurston's novel begins:

Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For other's they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher tums his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and mmember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.(9)

This is a singular beginning for a novel set in central Florida. However, the mysterious opening paragraphs may well have been influenced by two passages from Marie Grubbe. The first supplies the geography, the ships, and the sense of implacable forces at work:

Winter came with hard times for the beasts of tbe forest and the birds of the fields. It was a poor Christmas within mud-walled huts and timbered ships. The Western Sea was thickly studded with weeks, icy hulks, splintered rests, broken boats, and dead ships. Argosies were hurled upon the coast, shattered to worthless fragments, sunk, swept away, or buried in the sand; for the gale blew toward land with a high sea and deadly cold, and human hands were powerless against it.(28)

The second passage contains the man-woman dichotomy, the longing man, the theme of time's effect, and the narrator's oracular voice:

So now they are married and settled, and time passes, and time flies, and all is well-and time slackened its speed, and time crawled; for it is true, alas! that when Leander and Leonora have lived together for half a year, the glory is often departed from Leender's love, though Leonora usually loves him much more tenderly than in the days of their betrothal She is like the small children who find the old story new no matter how often it is told with the very same words, the same surprises, and the self-same "Snip, snap, snout, my tale is out," while Leander is more exacting and grows weary as soon as his feeling no longer makes him new to himself. When he ceases to be intoxicated, he suddenly becomes more than sober. The flush and clamor of his ecstasy, which for a while gave him the assurance of a demigod, suddenly departs: he hesitates, he thinks and begins to doubt He looks back at the chequered course of his passion, heaves a sigh, and yawns. He is beset with longing like one who has come home after a lengthy sojoum in foreign parts and sees the altogether too familiar though longforgotten spots before him, as he looks at them, he wonders idly whether he has really been gone from this wellknown part of the world so long. (110-11)

Closure is provided to the outer frame in Their Eyes by the last few paragraphs. The last half of the final one retains several parallels to a passage in Marie Grubbe. Hurston's lyrical conclusion reads:

Tea Cake, with the sun for a shawl Of course he wasn't dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.(286)

A comparable passage appears in the paragraph that concludes the seventh chapter of Marie Grubbe:

He felt lonely, drearily alone and forsaken. Among all the thousands of hearts that beat round about in the stillness of the night, not one turned in longing to him! Over all the earth there was a net of invisible threads binding soul to soul, threads stronger than life, stronger tban death; but in all that net not one tendril stretched out to him.(97)

Like Jacobsen's passage, Hurston's mentions the earth, the soul, the net, and the conquest of death.

Claire Crabtree has conunented that, "since Hurston is a skilled folklorist, it seems likely that her use of the storytelling frame is part of a rhetorical strategy through which she attempts to persuade her readers that the novel does in fact duplicate the experience of Black life, including oral traditions of specific Black communities"(56). But an examination of Marie Grubbe, even though it lacks a frame, suggests that Hurston's inner frame may also have been influenced by the narrative structure of Jacobsen's novel. The frame in which Janie and Pheoby converse shares features of the ending of Marie Grubbe, in which Marie tells Holberg the story of her life. Janie's narration of her life-story to Pheoby begins and ends Their Eyes, and Janie also tells the story of her life near the end of the novel when she is on trial for the shooting death of Tea Cake. Janie's courtroom testimony - her legal defense - is the story of her life. Janie's trial may also have been suggested by Marie Grubbe's relation of her story to Holberg for Jacobsen makes their conversation into a kind of existential trial.

Marie Grubbe has been living alone at the ferry at Falster because Soren has been tried and convicted of the accidental shooting of a skipper. A plague in Copenhagen brings a philosopher named Ludvig Holberg to Falster, where he becomes Marie's boarder. There, Holberg closely examines the elderly woman on the nature of her religious and moral beliefs. When she answers his philosophical queries with flawless logic, Holberg withdraws from the examination of his notorious landlady, satisfied that she has attained a profound understanding of why she has lived her life according to its unique pattern. Janie's testimony contains a similarly existential defense of her actions. Janie's return to Eatonville at the beginning of Their Eyes allows her to tell her lifestory to Pheoby, but Janie offers additional autobiograpllical narration near and at the conclusion of the book, where Marie Grubbe's is placed in Jacobsen's text.

Hurston's narrative technique, like the frame of Their Eyes, has often been discussed by critics, and this, too, I would argue, has been influenced by the example of Jacobsen!s novel. Cyrena Pondrom states that

the implied narrator of Their Eyes Were Watching God is a person of folk wisdom and rich black experience who is able to represent the minds and speech of Pheoby, Janie, Nanny, and "old buzzard Parson," in turn, integrating all into a vision of experience that is finally mythic. Clearly, it is this narrator who provides the cyclic, oracular, and symbolic frame of the opening chapter and final two paragraphs, and - as has been less understood - it is this implied author who narrates the flashbacks which compose the main text.(188)

This narrator, so fundamentally a part of Hurston's style, is nearly identical to the narrator of Marie Grubbe, though in the Danish novel he is necessarily without the black vernacular. Both narrators share what Pondrom lists as the attributes of Hurston's narrator: "omniscient point of narration," "a synchronic view from a timeless perspective," and the use of both direct and indirect discourse (188). There are, of course, major differences as well, the most noteworthy being that Hurston's main text is a flashback, whereas Jacobsen"s flashbacks occur within the chapters, as for example at the beginning of chapter seven. Yet, in terms of narrative stance, Hurston's "Time makes everything old so the kissing young darkness became a monstropolous old thing while Janie talked"(19) seems analogous to the oracular tone of Jacobsen's "So now they are married and settled, and time passes, and time flies, and all is well - and time slackened its speed, and time crawled . . ."(110). And much of Marie Grubbe is written in indirect discourse, an example being the passage that begins:

Oh if that was the end of all greatness - slavish whimpering, lecherous raving, and craven terror! - then there was no such thing as greatness. The hero she had dreamed of, he rode through the portals of death with ringing spurs and shining mail, with head bared and lance at rest, not with fear in witless eyes and whining prayers on trembling lips.(85)

There is a remarkable textual parallelism between the two novels early on in the fives of the protagonists. The second chapter of Their Eyes recapitulates Janie's girlhood in West Florida. Janie's discoveries begin with her observation of trees and flowers, as do Marie's:

It was a spring afternoon in West Florida. Janie had spent most of the day under a blossoming pear tree in the back-yard. She had been spending every minute that she could steal from her chores under that tree for the last three days. That was to say, ever since the first tiny bloom had opened. It had caused her to come and gaze on a mystery. From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf buds to snowy virginity of bloom. It stirred her tremendously. How? Why? It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing she heard had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep. It connected itself with other vaguely felt matters that had struck her outside observation and buried themselves in her flesh Now they emerged and quested about her consciousness. (23-24)

Marie Grubbe begins with Marie wandering alone beneath "the green vault" of a lane crowned with linden trees. Her hips, bosom, waist, and shape are described. She enters a "sunheated" garden and passes through it into an arbor. Sitting in the arbor she indidges in a sadomasochistic fantasy in which a woman, Griselda, is torn from her warm bed by a margrave. Naked, Griselda escapes into the right and runs through snow and rain. The female figure is then captured by huge, black yokels; pulled along by her hair; then thrown down in the dust of the road, whereupon the tail of a horse is tied around her ankles. After the reverie comes to a sudden end, Marie gathers enough roses to cover a table in the arbor with them, and she allows herself to be overcome by the feelings that they induce in her:

This bloom of color, curling in sheen and shadow, white flushing to red and red paling to blue, moist pink that is almost heavy, and a lavender light as wafted on air, each petal rounded like a tiny vault, soft in the shadow, but gleaming in the sun with thousands of fine lightpoints; with all its fair blood-of-rose flowing in the veins, spreading through the skin - and the sweet, heavy fragrant, rising like vapor from that red nectar that seethes in the flower cup. . . .

Suddenly she turned back her sleeves, and laid her bare arms in the soft, moist coolness of the flowers. She turned them round and round under the roses, until the loosened petals fluttered to the ground, then jumped up and with one motion swept everything from the table, and went out into the garden, pulling down her sleeves as she walked. With flushed cheeks and quickeried step, she followed the path to the end, then skirted the garden toward the tumpike. A load of hay had just been overturned and was blocking the way to the gate. Several other wagons halted behind it, and she could see the brown polished stick of the overseer gleaming in the sun, as he beat the unlucky driver.(7)

Hurston has preserved the major elements of Jacobsen's rendition of Marie Grubbe's marriage to Palle Dyre: the metaphor of the flower, the alteration of the face, and the psychological effects of constant bickering - Marie's languor and Janie's silence. Hurston separates the elements, however, and spreads the flower metaphor over several pages that describe this aspect of Janie's life. Hurston's "She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be"(112) is similar to Jacobsen's "Whatever had been delicate and flowerlike in her nature, all the fair and fragrant growth which heretofore had entwined her life as with luxurious though fantastic and even bizane arabesques, withered and died the death"(209). Hurston's allegory is presented through Janie's inability to escape the men who would grind her down; she leaves one, only to have another like him take his place. All men seem equally inimical to her quest for self-discovery and self-fulfillment. And although Hurston uses pear tree blossoms more often than roses, roses are present in Their Eyes as an archetype of erotic becoming: The rose of the world was breathing out smells. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep"(24).

The passage in which Marie Grubbe goes out to the road and witnesses the overseer whipping the carter is doubly important when we consider that Marie's third husband, with whom she finally finds happiness, is called Soren the Overseer, and that she receives frequent beatings from him. In this context, the first seven pages of Marie Grubbe can be seen as a catalog of increasingly aroused sadomasochistic experiences which culminate in Marie's witnessing the violence of an actual beating. This formative episode directs Marie's erotic life onto a course that, while marked by social decline, leads her to emotional completion - albeit completion that is, by conventional standards, abnormal. Marie's perverted emotional fulfillment allowed Jacobsen to introduce into literature a new theme, which he spoke of as "the struggle of one or more human beings for existence, that is their struggle against the existing order of things for their right to exist in their own way" (Hanna Larsen xi). Hurston rejects this conception of individual freedom entirely in favor of a scheme that does not accept the validity of spiritual decline in the name of psychological freedom: Janie struggles to escape exactly the physical and psychological torments which Marie Grubbe compulsively struggles to secure.(6) It must be acknowledged, however, that although Hurston may be said to have resolved the problem of battery successfully on the structural level of Their Eyes, Tea Cake's potential for violence is an important indication that - for the purposes of the novel's allegorical level - the relationship between Janie and Tea Cake is not ideal. Tea Cake is not the perfect man that he has been declared to be by critics given to romantic readings of Hurston's novel.(7)

After three pages of Janie's narration, Their Eyes reaches a point analogous to the beginning of Marie Grubbe: "She thought awhile and decided that her conscious life had commenced at Nanny's gate. On a late aftemoon Nanny had called her to come inside the house because she had spied Janie letting Johnny Taylor kiss her over the gate post"(23). Hurston's use of a frame allows Janie to supply a highly significant judgment that the omniscient narrator of Marie Grubbe is not permitted: The reader of Jacobsen's novel must intuit from his atmospheric style that Marie, when she drops the roses and goes out into the lane to see the overseer beating a carter, has been initiated into "conscious life" (as the indirect discourse of Hurston's narration would have it).

Jacobsen's narrator seldom comments directly on Marie Grubbe's psychological state. In fact, Hanna Larsen refers to Jacobsen's "indirect approach to a personality" (xiii) - his use of environment and dress to suggest the meaning of events. By contrast, Hurston, through Janie, treats her subjects directly. Yet, while Hurston departs from Jacobsens narrative style in speaking directly of Janie's emotions, she has not freed herself thematically from what she found in Marie Grubbe. Hurston's method seems to have been to compress and to redistribute some of the elements of Jacobsen's text in order to produce a structure simpler than that of Marie Grubbe, to create a story closer to the form of African American folktales. Jacobsen's lane of linden trees and the rose garden are replaced by a single blossoming pear tree, and in contrast to Jacobsen's fragrant, fragile, and passive roses, the pear tree has the power to instruct Janie directly. Hurston is emotional and metaphysical, whereas Jacobsen is rational, scientific, even deterministic.(8) Hurston emphasizes the presence of things that confirm the visionary pattern that Janie comes to naturally because she is part of a natural and animated order that vitalizes a natural morality. Marie Grubbe's world, by contrast, is one of turmoil, passion, and torment; her ego is overwhelmed by antagonistic experiences. However Marie Grubbe's reaction to her powerlesness is to be aroused erotically by the chaos that surrounds her. Hurston, in order to erase the destructive emotions evoked by Jacobsen's roses (the attractive blossoms are accompanied by punishing thorns), offers the idealized image of one procreating pear tree. Hurston's portrayal of nature as an ameliorative force gives Janie's will a wider range of freedom than Jacobsen's deterministic psychology allows Marie.

Yet, despite the distance that Hurston keeps from Jacobsen's materialistic philosophy and mechanistic psychology, there is a similarity in their use of symbolic detail. Jacobsen's description of the rose garden is tainted with nightmare and hysteria:

Mosquitoes swarmed in the gap between the hopvines, and from the garden came puffs of fragrance from mint and common balm, mingling sometimes with a whiff of sowthistle or anise. A dizzy little yellow spider ran across her hand, tickling her, and made her jump up. She went to the door and tried to pick a rose growing high among the leaves, but could not reach it. Then she began to gather the blossoms of the climbing rose outside and, getting more and more eager, soon filled her skirt with flowers, which she carried into the arbor.(6-7)

Hurston attacks the fundamental pathology of Jacobsen's premises by seeing to it that her protagonist inhabits a more hospitable natural world than Jacobsen's. Although insects are present, they do not titillate or annoy; they instruct and seduce by example. Hurston transforms the blood-sucking mosquitoes and the tickling spider that populate the antagonistic world manifested by Jacobsen's sadomasochistic sensibility into pollinating bees and connubial flies:

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 to her. She saw a 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 a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remoreless sweet that left her limp and languid.(24)

As with the self-abuse or "self-violation" suggested by Marie's episode with the roses - the unmentioned thorns over which she rubs her arms - Janie's Janie's experience of the tree's intercourse with the bees is ambiguous, for the degree to which Janie participates in the ensuing orgasm is difficult to determine. The passage continues:

After a while she got up from where she was and went over the little garden field entire. She was seeking confirmation of the voice and vision, and everywhere she found and acknowledged answers. A personal answer for all other creations except herself. She felt an answer seeking her, but where? When? How? She found herself at the kitchen door and stumbled inside. In the air of the room were flies tumbling and singing, marrying and giving in marriage. When she reached the narrow hallway she was reminded that her grandmother was home with a sick headache. She was lying across the bed asleep so Janie tipped on out of the front door. Oh to be a pear tree - any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world! She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her. Where were the singing bees for her? Nothing on the place or in her grandma's house answered her. She searched as much of the world as she could from the top of the front steps and then went down to the front gate and leaned over to gaze up and down the road. Looking waiting, breathing short with impatience. Waiting for the world to be made. (24-25)

Janie, at this point, is at the same pitch of arousal, of psychic readiness, as was Marie when, with flushed cheeks and quickened step, she followed the path to the end, then skirted the garden toward the turnpike"(7) and glimpsed the overseer with the stick. Janie's revelation, however, is of a different order:

Through the pollinated air she saw a glorious being coming up the road. In her former blindness she had known him as shiftless Johnny Taylor, tall and lean. That was before the golden dust of pollen had beglamored his rags and her eyes. (25)

Understandably, Marie is repulged by the violence which she witnesses: "She put her fingers in her ears to shut out the sickening sound of the blows, ran toward the house, darted within the open cellar door and slammed it after her"(7). Janie, on the other hand, has been infused with new knowledge of the natural world, which she instinctively puts to use. She is determined to seduce the first young man who passes by, but a sixth sense awakens her grandmother in time to look out of a window and see "Johny Taylor lacerating her Jade with a kiss? (25-26).

After witnessing the beating of the carter, Marie Grubbe is not kissed for another fifty or so pages. Jacobsen must set up the complex conjunction of Marie and Ulrik Frederik. And, in order to do that, he must first sketch the Danish-Swedish military conflict, Ulrik Christians love affair with Sofie Urne, and Ulrik Christian's strange relationship with Marie Grubbe, as well as animate many other supporting characters. At last the scene is set, and Marie meets the hero of the Swedish rout at the home of her Aunt, Mistress Rigitze (the counterpart of Janie's grandmother). Ulrik Christian is in conversation and is not aware that he is being studied by Marie. As she sits imagining his daring deeds in battle, he suddenly becomes aware of her. At first Ulrik does not realize her youth, and when she is introduced to him by Mistress Rigitze as "her little niece," he is discomfited. We are not told how Marie and Ulrik come to be alone, but their subsequent actions show them to be, and a strange dispute takes place, soon reaching a crisis:

"Hark'ee!" He seized her wrists in a hard grip and drew her to him across the little table. "By God, you're a thorny person, but," he whispered, "if one has greeted me with such a look as yours a moment ago, I will not have her bid me so poor a farewell - I will not have it! There -n ow kiss me!"

Her eyes full of tears, Marie pressed her trembling lips against his. He dropped her hands, and she sank down over the table, her head in her arms. She felt quite dazed. All that day and the next she had a dull sense of bondage, of being no longer free. A foot seemed to press her neck and grind her helplessly in the dust. Yet there was no bitterness in her heart, no defiance in her thoughts, no desire for revenge. A strange peace had come over her soul and had chased away the flitting throng of dreams and longings. She could not define her feelings for Ulrik Christian; she only knew that if he said Come, she must go to him, and if he said Go, she must quit him. She did not understand it, but it was so and had always been so, thus and not otherwise.(60-61)

Both Marie and Janie are married when quite young and both marriages are arranged, Marie's by her aunt, Mistress Rigitze, and Janie's by her grandmother. Central to both of these first marriages is the fact that Janie and Marie hate their husbands. Marie is chosen by the king because the court feels a need to calm down Ulrik Frederick; though a commoner, she is an eligible bride because she is destined to inherit a fortune from her father, who has extensive holdings of farmland. Given the different social setting in Their Eyes, Janie's hatred has nothing to do with being rejected because of distinctions of class, and Killicks does not present the issue of infidelity. Janie simply does not love Killicks, and the prospect of a life of toilsome farm work in his company drives her away.

But it is the account of Janie's marriage to Joe Starks that most clearly illustrates the intertexual kinship between Hurston's novel and Marie Grubbe, for here Hurston seems to be modeling her description on Jacobsen's depiction of events rather fl= reacting against his characterization. Jacobsen describes Marie's stormy second marriage and its effect on her character in this way:

Endless quarreling and bickering, mutual sullenness and fault-finding were all that the passing days brought in their train.

Marie was blunted by it. Whatever had been delicate and flowerlike in her nature, all the fair and fragrant growth with which heretofore had entwined, her life as with luxurious though fantastic and even bizarre arabesques, withered and died the death. Coarseness in thoughts as in speech a low and slavish doubt of everything great and noble, and a shameless selfscom were the effect of these sixteen years at Tjele. And yet another thing: she developed a thickblooded sensuousness, a hankering for the good things of life, a lusty appetite for food and drink, for soft chairs and soft beds, a voluptuous pleasure in spicy, narcotic scents, and a craving for luxury which was neither ruled by good taste nor refined by love of the beautiful. True, she had scant means of gratifying these desires, but that did not lessen their force.

She had grown further of form and paler, and there was a slow languor in all her movements. Her eyes were generally quite empty of expression, but sometimes they would grow strangely bright, and she had fallen into the habit of setting her lips in a meaningless smile. (209-10)

Hurston's text contains a passage analogous to Jacobsen's, in which the disputes between Janie and Jody are described:

Times and scenes like that put Janie to thinking about the inside state of her marriage. Time came when she fought back with her tongue as best she could, but it didn't do her any good. It just made Joe do more. He wanted her submission and he'd keep on fighting until he felt he had it.

So gradually, she pressed her teeth together and learned to hush The spirit of the marriage left the bedroom and took to living in the parlor. It was there to shake hands whenever company came to visit, but it never went back inside the bedroom again. So she put something in there to represent the spirit like a Virgin Mary image in a church The bed was no longer a daisy-field for her and Joe to play in. It was a place where she went and laid down when she was sleepy and tired.

She wasn't petal-open anymore with him. She was twenty-four and seven years married when she knew. She found out that one day when he slapped her face in the kitchen. (111)

An additional occasion of similarity occurs when Hurston's narrator observes that "the years took all of the fight out of Janie's face"(118), a telling sentence which also seems to have been influenced by Jacobsen's description of Marie's facial expression.

Both Marie and Janie have lost their youth at the points where the young men who win become their third husbands are introduced. After Joe Starks has died, Janie contemplates her face in a mirror and takes note of her changed beauty. Marie, at this point in her life, remains unconscious of her changed state. The introductions of Soren and Tea Cake mark the commencement of entirely new directions in the protagonists' lives. The most important difference between the ways in which these men are introduced is that Marie Grubbe finds Soren Sorensen Moller while she is still married to Palle Dyre, whereas Janie encounters Tea Cake only after Joe Starks has died and she has assumed the management of their store. While the legitimacy of the relationships is not made an issue in either novel, it is interesting to observe that Janie was never divorced from Logan Killicks, nor was she legally married to Joe Starks. Presumably Logan Killicks is dead by the time she encounters Tea Cake, for their relationship is described as a marriage (187), although no other details are provided. (This omission perhaps recalls the leaps and discontinuities that are the hallmarks of Jacobsen's style.) Marie Grubbe was legally married to Soren Moller, although their relationship began as an affair. Hurston's novel then, does not follow Jacobsen's historically bound text as regards the issue of the legitimacy of the relationships. Rather, there is emotional parallelism. In both novels, the protagonists fall passionately in love with their third husbands, almost at first sight, and while Soren and Tea Cake have traits that make them unworthy matches for Marie and Janie, the women openly pursue the younger men despite the disapproval of their respective communities.

If Marie's conscious life began when she witnessed an overseer whipping a carter in the road, then the psychological motivation for Marie's attraction to Soren has been provided: Though Soren is a coachman, his inherited title is overseer, and he is actually cared by the name Soren Overseer on the farm where he works for Marie's second husband, Palle Dyre. Marie throws herself at Soren. Initially, he is intimidated by her high social status and resists her advances, but eventually she wears him down. In contrast to the affair between Marie Grubbe and Soren, Tea Cake has difficulty getting Janie to take him seriously, but he stubbornly courts her for months. And unlike Soren, who squanders most of Marie Grubbe's fortune, Tea Cake has no real interest in Janie's money.

The concluding chapters of Their Eyes Were Watching God offer especially striking contrasts to the events narrated in Marie Grubbe following Marie's marriage to Soren Mollr.(9) However, there is one other important way in which Hurston's text closely echoes Jacobsen's - the authors' presenting rivals to Marie and Janie for the love of Saren and Tea Cake. In the early days of the affair between Soren and Marie, they concoct a ruse to allay any suspicions that Paue Dyre might have about their affair. At Marie's suggestion, Soren courts one of the farmhands. However, Marie soon becomes jealous and upbraids him for paying attention to the girl. In despair, Soren shoots the unfortunate girl to show Marie that he truly disdains the "other" woman. This absurd incident, which demonstrates the depth of Marie Grubbe's irrationality, has a parallel in Hurston's text. Janie and Tea Cake have become agricultural workers in southern Florida. Another of the workers, a young woman named Nunkie, throws herself at Tea Cake, and Janie refuses to be convinced that Tea Cake is not interested in the girl. A physical confrontation between Janie and Tea Cake erupts, then dissolves into lovemaking laughter, and forgiveness. The conflict between Tea Cake and Janie is intersextually related to two separate episodes in Marie Grubbe, the incident involving the shooting of Marie's rival and another episode in which Soren beats Marie in order to show some gamblers that he is not intimidated by Marie's former social status. That initial beating from Soren sets in motion a pattern of physical abuse. In contrast, the struggle between Janie and Tea Cake ends with the demonstration of their mutually acknowledged equality and offers testimony regarding their relatively good psychic health. In short, Hurston transforms two sordid, violent, and psychopathic episodes which express the pervasive sadomasochism of Jacobsen's novel into episodes which express feminist values.

The achievement of Jacobsen's early modernist breakthrough might be said to be his relentless and defiant embrace of psychopathology in the interest of individual freedom, pursued through a type of scientific realism. In his novel the dazzlingly beautiful Marie Grubbe descends from the Danish royal court in a thoughtless debauch, through progressively more sordid behavior, until her first chronicler, Ludvig Holberg finds her - in his view, a poor, lonely human wreck existing on the edge of her plague-ridden society. By contrast, Hurston's modernism offers a vision of the self freed from the social mechanisms that produce a pathological humanity. Hurston seeks to refute Jacobsen's parable in the interest of demonstrating a psychological transvaluation wherein the self is shown to have at its disposal the means to expand its freedom beyond the repressive limits imposed by a society trapped in patterns of unconscious repetition/compulsion. On the social scale of Their Eyes, these destructive forces appear in the forms of war, slavery, and racism, in Janie's life, they are manifested as the conventions of male-dominated marriage, aggressive territoriality, and materialism.

As Jacobsen's novel makes all too clear, to men, the lives of seventeenth-century ladies were pointless. Hurston's novel addresses the question of a similar pointlessness in contemporary affairs: How is Janie to five a meaningful life when she is given into the hands of men who would destroy her potential for selfhood? Marie Grubbe has been made sick by her society, yet does not struggle against her pathology. Instead, she pursues her dark vision, as though the compulsions of a sick ego were a sufficient means to salvation. Marie Grubbe represents the consequences of the divided self. How, she asks Holberg, can she rise again - " |as the young innocent child I was when I first came out among people, or as the honored and envied favorite of the King and the ornament of the court, or as poor old hopeless Ferryman's Marie? And shall I answer for what the others, the child and the woman in the fullness of life, have sinned, or shall one of them answer for me?'" (250-51). Hurston's character Janie searches for emotional fulfillment that seems to arise instinctually out of a belief that there must be more to life than she has been allowed. In constructing her allegory, Hurston endows the male characters that appear in the first half of her novel with a specific pathology that would squelch the female self, then arranges events in such a way that Janie, through her relationship with Tea Cake, finally learns to trust a man. Thus, Janie and Tea Cake succeed, to a degree, in ameliorating the struggle for dominance that, in Hurston's view, is responsible for the inherently pathological relationships that exist between women and men.

It is worth speculating that the dispute over Walter White's Flight may have motivated Hurston to write Their Eyes. The question for the Harlem literati was whether or not Mimi Daquin, the protagonist of White's novel, was an adequately drawn character. In his review of Flight, Frank Home refers to the novel as a "puppet show" and to Mimi as a "marionette" (227). Nella Larsen's review sought to defend White's depiction of Mimi by comparing her to female characters created by Flaubert, Galsworthy, and Jacobsen. Moreover, Larsen explains that she finds White's style acceptable because she has been reading Huysmans, Conrad, Proust, and Thomas Mann, and she adds, by way of slighting Home's preferences, that "naturally these things would not irritate me as they would an admirer of Louis Hemon and Mrs. Wharton" (Davis 216). It may not have occurred to Larsen that none of the novels she names in defending White may have provided an adequate rendering of female experience (none was authored by a woman). But a comparison of Marie Grubbe and Their Eyes Were Watching God makes it seem that the idea occurred to Hurston. Certainly Hurston's Janie is a very different woman than Jacobsen's Maxie Grubbe. In Jacobsen's novel the only relationships Marie Grubbe has with women axe brief, adversarial, and violent, and her relationships with men are marked by irresistible obsessions. Even her confession to Holberg reveals its true character when seen in this way: Jacobsen has arranged events so that men dominate Marie Grubbe and men judge her. Certainly Hurston's exposure to this novel that, according to Larsen, portrayed a woman who "threw away material things for fulfillment of her spiritual destinies" (Davis 215) could have led her to write a book in which a woman truly does fulfill her spiritual destiny.

Thus, in writing Their Eyes, Hurston would seem to have begun with a countertext in mind, so that her own text is, in one sense, an attack upon Marie Grubbe. That Their Eyes Were Watching God may have been influenced by another novel perhaps reveals more fully the method by which Hurston composed her fiction. Jonah's Gourd Vine, her first novel, was based on the oral text of what she had been told about the marriage of her parents. Two others of her novels are clearly linked with other texts: Moses: Man of the Mountain is a retelling of events narrated in Exodus, and she researched the Bible, Flavius Josephus, Spinoza, and contemporary Roman and Egyptian histories' for her unfinished novel "Herod the Great" (Hemenway, Zora 343). Previously, Hurston's tendency to appropriate material for her fiction has not suggested a consistent pattern in the way in which she wrote her novels. But it now seems plausible that the last novel she published, Seraph of the Suwanee (1948), like the others, may also have been influenced by some text which is yet to be identified.

The recognition of Hurston's documentary method also allows a clearer view of the allegory she worked out in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston is often credited with depicting an equal relationship between a man and a woman in her portrayal of the marriage of Janie and Tea Cake (see n5). In her own life, she was not able to achieve such a relationship, and her biographer, Robert Hemenway, makes clear that Their Eyes was written after a failed love affair. He quotes Hurston as saying that "|the plot was far from the circumstances, but I tried to embalm all the tenderness of my passion for [my former lover] in Their Eyes Were Watching God'" (Zora 231). We can suppose that, by feeling as she did about the course of her own love life and by reacting to what she found in Jacobsen's novel, Hurston may have been motivated to move to a stage beyond the depiction of equality between the sexes. At the end of Hurston's love affair, it was she who left, outwardly calm, while the man was "hurt and confused" (Hemenway, Zora 231). At the auegorical level of Their Eyes, Hurston has sought to move Janie beyond her affiliation with Tea Cake, who represents her need to be less than a selfsufficient individual. Hurston thus brings her narrative to a turbudent crisis, in which Janie must either kill Tea Cake or die herself. Before he threatens, literally, to take Janie's life, he threatens her ability to develop a self not subject to ego-definition according to the routines of dominance and submission. Were the relationship between Tea Cake and Janie to persist, even one that achieved true equality between them, the future would promise her only spiritual death. Where spiritual destiny is a concern, equality is not a sufficient outcome.

Janie is allowed to transcend what we must suppose that Hurston saw as the stagnation inherent in a conventionally romantic relationship. Like Hurston's Janie, Jacobsen's Marie Grubbe is alone at the end of her life, although Janie is still beautiful and vital, while Marie Grubbe has grown old. Without Soren, Marie Grubbe seems to Holberg (and to the male view in general) a broken and incomplete woman. By contrast, Hurston's Janie, without Tea Cake, is a woman who has come into the possession of rich and profound psychological resources. Janie's story is of her "conscious life," which she can tell to Pheoby because she has returned to her home fully awakened to her ability to shape her own destiny. Janie's body, mind, and emotions are under her governance. Now that she has a self that does not waver, she begins another journey, a spiritual ascent - what Mary Jane Lupton has described as an evolution" to a higher stage of human possibility than has been previously attainable by women, either in the community of Eatonville or in the heroic tradition"(54).


(1) At least four critics have discussed Hurston's use of folklorisfic materials as being fundamental to the writing of Their Eyes. Sally Ann Ferguson states that Hurston "characterizes each husband in torms of a strikingly familiar, well-documented folkloric motif. Janie's wedding at age sixteen to old Logan, for example, conforms to the |foolish marriage of old man and young girl pattern'. . . . Her bigamous involvement with Jody comports well with the |Jody the Grindertale' of black folklore, and Tea Cake Woods loves, fights, steals, arid gambles much like the black folk hero Stackolse . . . '(185). Ferguson thus sees the novel as having its contents completely shaped by a rather curious blend of folldoric materials. Claire Crabtree observes that "the folktale's repetition of events in a series of three is duplicated in Janie's three marriages as well as by her movement. . . to . . . three communities'(57). (I will add that she also sits under the pear tree for three days.) Klaus Bonesch concludes his essay by stating that Their Eyes uses |a frequently misunderstood narrative strategy, the merging of literary and oral style.' Benesch provides a very thorough discussion of those aspects of African American folk culture which Hurston brought to her revision of Jacobson's novel. Having intuited the duality at the heart of Their Eyes, he concludes that |the basic opposition of blackness versus whiteness' is "indispensable for an unstanding of the text"(634).

Perhaps to most interesting of the four treatments is Cyrona N. Pondrom's. Pondrom reads Their Eyes as a replication of the myth of the Babylonian gods Ishtar and Tammuz (see n9) and, thus, depicts Hurston as an anthropological novelist writing as a Boasian comparative mythologist. Pondrom thinks that this mythical method" brings Hurston within the sphere of the high modemists (Eliot, Joyce, Pound, Crane, H. D., and Wooff) who used myth "as a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significane to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history (202).

"Moreover, as though he had intuited Hurston's familiarity with Marie Grubbe, Klaus Benesch has made the astute observation that, "if it were not for the abundant use of Black English, which in itsel lies the next to a specific cultural background, Their Eyes might easily be taken for the story of a white woman" 628).

"Larson writes: "Just why, I wonder did your reviewer choose the passive French-Canadian girl, the trapped Mattie, and the Salammbo of ancient Carthage, with whom to disparage the robellious, modern Mimi? Certainly, these are their own environments and times excellent characters. But, so is Mimi for hers. And would not Galsworthy's unsurpassable Irene Forsyle, or Jacobson's Maria Grubbe have been more effective for purposes of comparison as wellas for disparagement? They, like Mimi Daquin, threw away material things for fulfillment of their spiritual destinies' (295). Thadious M. Davis (209-16) presents the full text of the letter, which was published in Opportunity in an abridged form.

"Also known as Stycho or Stygge Hoegh.

"There is a great deal more that could be said about the influence of Jacobsen on Hurston than can be discussed in this essay. Hurston seems to demonstrate some of the strategies of misroading that Harold Bloom calls the "anxiety of influence." Primarily, there is the question of the degree to which Janie recapitulates aspect of Marie's psycholic character. While it might seem that Hurston evidences "clinamen," the exposure of Jaoobson's "relatively naive visionary limitations" (Renza 189), in her depiction of Janie's healthy sexuality, it would also seem that Hurston has not wholly freed Janie from her model's violence, aggression, and impulsiveness.

"We may even view Janie's attempts at freedom - her elopements with her second and third husbands, both of which bring her to less than ideal situations - as Hurston's negative treatment of the influence of Jacobsen's novel, or what Bloom calls the strategy of daemonization. Marle Grubbe's "freedom" is found in exactly the type of sado-masochistic marital relationships from which Janie must three times free herseff.

"Sally Ann Ferguson observes that" . . . Robert Bone sees their life together as an |unlimited partnership'"(196), and Lillie Howard argues that Tea Cake accepts Janie "for herself as an equal" (105). To this list can be added Addison Gayle, Jr., who states that Tea Cake" is not only capable of accepting Janie's new-found freedom as a woman, but of encouraging it'(42); Sherley Anne Williams, who notes that "Tea Cake has asked, not commanded; his request stems from a desire to be with Janie, to share every aspect of his life with her, rather than from a desire to coerce her into some mindless submission" (102); and Roger Rosenblatt, who doclares that "with Tea Cake Janie finds love for the first time"(30).

". . . in Jacobsen's opinion, there is no divine pattern to be found and no satisfactory conclusion regarding the reasons for existence to be deduced from the many premises which the enquiring mind finds in the natural world . . ." (Mitchell 185).

"Hurston concludes Their Eyes by inserting the myth of Isis and Osiris into her plot. The storm that ravages "the muck" is a mandestation of Set the Egyptan storm god, the enemy of Osiris. Later Set appears as a rabid dog and bites Tea Gake/Osiris. The Coffin Texts state that Set killed Osiris by means of a poison bite. In Their Eyes Tea Cake drives the dog Set from the back of a cow, allowing Janie to be saved by holding on to the cow's tail. The cow was to tradidonal symbol of Isis/Hathor/Sothis, the Mother Goddess. That Janie kills Tea Cake is persistently problematic, though less so in this reading, since Tea Cake/Osiris is already poisoned and dying by the hand of Set.

Osiris is a theological mystery since he is lord of the dead, yet is not wholly dead. This mystery is echoed in the last paragraph of Their Eyes, in which Janie states that Tea Cake still lives. Isis collected the severed body of Osiris from the Nile, an action also alluded to in the final paragraph of Thier Eyes. Additionally, upon her return to Eatonville, Janie continues to enact the myth of Isis by watching in the night with her friend Pheoby/Nephthys. The narration of Their Eyes involves the two women watching together. The implication of Hurston's use of this particular myth would be that, like Isis, who made herself pregnant by the dead Osiris so that she could give birth to the solar god Horus, Janie is also pregnant. This interpretation radically revises the way in which Their Eyes has generally been read, particularly with regard to the type of feminism which Hurston is assumed to have advocated. interestingly, Hurston's insertion of a fertility myth has been noticed by Mary Jane Lupton, who sees Tea Cake as Noah and Janie as Demeter, the Greek version of Isis. Curiously, Cyrena Pondrom sees elements of the Isis-Osiris myth in the novel but argues instead that Their Eyes recapitulates the Ishter-Tammuz myth. She points out that the dead Tea Cake has his eyes "wide open in judgment" in the third paragraph, though she misses the implication of this description. Osiris was the judge of the dead. She also shows that at 28 and 40, Tea Cake and Janie are the ages of Osiris and Isis in the myth. At the and of the novel Janie has a packet of seeds to plant in memory of Tea Cake. in the Egypian cult Osiris was ritually symbolized as a bag of seeds; every year the bag was watered, and the swelling seeds burst the bag. Pondrom's discussion of Ishtar is far more general than her treatment of Isis: Janie is, like Ishtar, "a thoughly human figure of seduction and the divine force of creation and renewal' (192). Pondrom's reading is also inconsistent in assigning mythic origins; e.g., she calls the rabid dog Cerbenus, guardian of the underworld (a Greek myth). While analogues, the Isis-Osiris and Ishtar-Tammuz myths we from different cultures, tall very different stories about the respective divinities, and offer very different implications about the meaning of the novel.

Works Cited

Benesch, Klaus. "Oral Narrative and Literary Text: Afro-American Folklore in Their Eyes Were Watcting God." Callaloo 11 (1988): 627-35. Bloom, Harold, ed. Zore Neale Hurston. New York: Chelsea, 1986. Bone, Robert. "Ships at a Distance: The Meaning of Their Eyes Were Watcting God." Bloom 15-20. Crabtree, Claire. "The Confluence of Folklore, Ferminism and Black Self-Determination in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watchng God." Southern Literary Journal 17 (1985): 54-66. Davis, Thadious M. |Nelia Larson.' The Gender of Modermism. Ed. Bonnie Kime Scott. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990. 209-16. Ferguson, Sally Ann. "Folkloric Man and Female Growth in Their Eyes Were Watchng God." Black American Literature Forum 21 (1987):185-97. Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. "A Tragedy of Negro Life." Mule Bone. A Comedy of Negro Life. By Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Ed. George Houston Bass and Gates. New York: Harper, 1991. 5-24. Gayle, Addison, Jr. "The Outsider." Bloom 35-46. Hemenway, Roben E. "That Which the Soul Lives By." Mulas and Men. By Hurston. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978. xi-xxvii. _____. Zora Neale Hurston. A Literary Biography. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1977. Home, Frank. "Flight." Opportunity 4 (1926): 227. Howard, Lillie. Zora Neale Hurston. Boston: Twayne, 1980. Hurston, Zora Neale. Mules and Men. 1935. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1963. _____. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1978. Jacobson, Jens Peter. Maris Grubbe: A Lady of the Seventeenth Century. 2nd ed. New York: Twayne, 1975. Larson, Hanna Astrup. "Introduction." Marie Grubbe. A Lady of the Seventeenth Century. By Jens Peter Jacobsen. Trans. by Larson. New York: Boni, 1918. v-xv. Larsen, Nelia. "Correspondence." Opportunity 4 (1926): 295. Lersen, David Levering. When Harlem Was in Vogue. New York: Oxdord UP, 1981. Lupton, Mary Jane. "Zora Neale Hurston and the Survival of the Female." Southern Literary Journal 15 (1982):45-54. Mitchell, P. M. A History of Denish Literature. Copenhagen: Cyldndal, 1957. Pondrom, Cyrona. "The Role of Myth in Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God." American Literature 58 (1986): 181-202. Raphael, Robert "Introduction." Jacobson v-xvii. Renza, Louis A. "Influence." critical Terms for Library Study. Ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1990. 186-202. Rosenblatt, Roger. "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Bloom 29-33. Wainwright, M. K. "The Most Unfortunate Thing Zora Ever Wrote: A Defense of Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road - A Different View of Autobiography." Second Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities, 1991. Williams, Sherley Anne. "Janie's Burden." Bloom 97-102. ____ . Preface. Their Eyes Were Watcting God. By Hurston. v-xv.

Jon Woodson is Associate Professor of English at Howard University. He is currently working on a study of Harlem Renaissance writing.
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Author:Woodson, Jon
Publication:African American Review
Date:Dec 22, 1992
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