Tree and the Bees “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love. ” This quote by Sigmund Freud sums up the book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zorn Neal Hurst. In this book the protagonist, Jeanie, explains her life journey of love and loss. Specifically, Jeanie develops an idealized view of love from the effortless union of the pear tree and the bees. As a result, she believes love should be a perfect harmony between two people, and she strives to find that perfect harmony through marriage.
The story begins when Jeanie Is a young girl living with her grandmother, sitting pear tree Just trying to escape her chores and the hot sun. The tree Is starting to blooming this year Jeanie sees it in a completely different way. “Stretched on her back beneath the parterre soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. ” (Hurst 29) Jeanie is tuned In to her surroundings and is observing and assessing every single detail around her.
While Jeanie is entranced, she hears the inaudible voice; she Is no longer that Innocent little child. She realizes that the relationship between the bees and the pear tree is more intimate than it appears. Genie’s roller coaster ride with nature has only just begun. She looks even closer at the bees and the blossoms. “She saw a disbarring bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand aesthetically 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 marriage! ” (Hurst 29) Jeanie sees this Interaction between the bee and the blossom as an Image symbolizing the perfect harmony between two beings. The bee represents a male image by carrying the pollen and the blossom represents a female image by receiving the pollen from the bee. Jeanie captures the union as perfect romance and imagines an image of what a marriage between people should look like. With this perfect image In her mind, Jeanie longs to create harmony In her own teenage life.
Jeanie feels trapped by her arranged marriage to Logan. When Joe Starks offers an escape, Jeanie runs off with him too town called Detonative. “From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. (Hurst 73) Jeanie thinks that Joe will be perfect for her. In Genie’s mind Joe can fulfill her idealized image of marriage because he promises her great things, including a way out. Unfortunately, Jeanie is still so young and Immature that she cannot see past her nose.
Joe will never be her bee; Joey’s powerless are elsewhere. He Is self centered and has his own dreams. Joe has wooed her with his big plans and his big dreams, and Jeanie is blindsided by it all. Jeanie has no idea that her next twenty years with Joe are going to be nothing like she wanted. She wants to be wild and have a romantic life. But Joe is only going o give her money, a status and a proper image she must uphold. “She had no more blossomy openings dusting pollen over her man, neither any glistening young fruit where the petals used to be. (Hurst 152) Hurst uses simple processes of nature Money and other physical objects cannot quench Genie’s thirst for true romance and relationship. Coupled with this, Jeanie still holds the idea of how a perfect marriage should be. Her relationship with Joe was not. Hence, her relationship was not successful, it did not bear fruit. Jeanie is no longer that sixteen year old little girl, she is now past forty with two unsuccessful marriages. Yet she still has her beauty and her ideals of perfect harmony like the pear tree blossom and the bee.
She is still searching for her bee, and many men have tried to woo her like Joe did. Jeanie is not interested, she is looking for someone different. Along comes Tea Cake. “He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee too blossom a pear tree blossom in the spring” (Hurst 220) Tea Cake brings out feelings in Jeanie she has never felt. He treats her like an equal. He does simple things as playing checkers with her. Tea Cake was her bee. He creates the feelings in her that she once had all those years go under that pear tree.
Jeanie believes Tea Cake can fulfill her ideal image off man. Tea Cake and Jeanie share an effortless union, and they have created a perfect harmony. Tragically, terrible circumstances came about that resulted in the death of Tea eke. In conclusion, the pear tree and the bees in the book, Their Eyes Where Watching God by Zorn Neal Hurst, symbolize the relationship that Jeanie searched for her whole life. She envisioned an idealized image of a perfect harmony between two people. Unfortunately for Jeanie she was defenseless against repetitive suffering during her pursuit of true love.
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