Their Eyes Were Watching God

We have started to read TEWWG in my English class. If you have not read it, power through the first couple of chapters, they are painful in my opinion. It’s a story about a girl named Janie and her life from age 16 on through the majority of her life. When she was young, she made some stupid mistakes and didn’t have the best role models. You cringe at many decisions that she makes, but once she meets the right guy, it all seems to fall into place. As an assignment, we could act as a marriage counselor for one of her previous marriages. She married a controlling man, Joe Starks, and I wrote a mock therapy session. (Bulleted for ease in determining when a new speaker begins.)

  • Counselor-So Janie, could you describe your relationship with Joe briefly please?
  • Janie-Well, you see…
  • Joe- Janie darling, you don’t need to speak to him. Our marriage is perfectly fine. I don’t even know why we are here. No disrespect, but I think our relationship is as solid as they come.
  • Counselor-No Joe, I need to hear Janie’s opinions. I’ve heard yours all this past month! I have yet to hear an uncensored answer from Janie. Janie? My original question.
  • Janie- Well…(hesitates as Joe bites his tongue) as you have noticed, I’m never able to speak my mind! I just feel so…so…
  • Joe-Happy Janie, the word you’re looking for is happy, right??
  • Counselor- You just feel so what Janie.
  • Janie-Trapped! I am never allowed to speak to other people, I feel so alone! I am not even allowed to show my own natural beauty. Joe makes me appear unassuming whenever he makes me work the store. WE have never done anything together!
  • Counselor-I see. I’m glad you’ve finally been able to open up. Joe, I think you need to loosen up a bit so Janie can be who she is. A little protection is a good thing, but you should try not to be stifling Joe.
  • Joe- Fine, we’ll try this. But consider me uninterested. This has been an…(glares at Janie) enlightening… event today. See you next week…(under his breath) probably not.
  • Counselor-You see? That is too much Joe! PLease, at least continue to try to talk to each other? It really will get better, you just have to give it time!
  • Joe- Let’s go JAnie. We will give it time… a lot of time before we come back to this nutcase. See ya later doc… We’ll get through this without you.
  • Janie-(Looks longingly at Doctor Counselor)
  • Counselor- Stay strong Janie…

Reflection on American Slavery

During my English class, we wrote a reflection on the novel 12 Years a Slave. I decided to compare and contrast an article about a lost slave girl from her mother and Solomon Northup’s story. Article web address: http://kuow.org/post/slave-mothers-love-56-carefully-stitched-words.
This particular story is similar to Solomon Northup’s tale in a few ways. Both are based on truth, both are about being sold into slavery, and both show an eventual reuniting of their families. With Ashley and Rose, they never physically meet again, but a dedicated historian was able to piece together where they came from and that their story was in fact true. Solomon and Ashley’s stories are also quite different. Ashley was born into slavery, and was simply sold to another plantation, whereas Solomon got to experience freedom before being sold into slavery. Ashley never knew a time outside of slavery until she was 20, the only change in the constant pain was when she was forced away from her mother. Solomon had the pain of every single day, knowing that every second he was gone, his children were growing up without the love and attention that Solomon was so ready to give. Both of their stories are incredibly painful, and I’m sure that no one would want to endure either, but even so Solomon’s story seems still worse than Ashley and Rose’s separation. Although I guess it depends on who you are. Which is better, never knowing of freedom in the first place, but gaining freedom later on in life? Or having the sweet taste of said freedom taken away in the blink of an eye only to be thrown back in more than a decade behind the rest of the world?