The Limits of Lovemaking and Community: Infertility in "Their Eyes Were Watching God"


  • Trudier Harris


ABSTRACT: Janie Crawford, the protagonist in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), never fully grows up or integrates completely into any of the communities of which she is a part in the novel. She therefore remains “infertile” in several relationships and communities that showcase diverse kinds of “fertility,” whether that fertility is Logan Killicks's productivity with his farmland, Jody Starks's successes in building Eatonville, or even Tea Cake's skills at gambling and guitar-playing. No matter her environment, Janie remains outside of systems of fertility, more child-like than adult, which means that the blossoming pear tree image that surrounds her, and which seems to epitomize sexuality and fertility, is wasted on Janie, because she refuses to grow up and become fertile either by procreating or by contributing creatively to the communities in which she lives. 

RESUMEN: Janie Crawford, la protagonista de Sus ojos miraban a Dios (1937), de Zora Neale Hurston, nunca se hace del todo adulta ni se integra completamente en ninguna de las comunidades de las que forma parte en la novela. Por tanto, permanece “estéril” en varias relaciones y comunidades que son emblemáticas de diferentes tipos de “fertilidad,” sea esta fertilidad la productividad de Logan Killicks con su granja, los éxitos de Jody Starks en la construcción de Eatonville, o incluso las habilidades de Tea Cake para el juego y laguitarra. En cualquiera que sea su entorno, Janie permanece fuera de los sistemas de fertilidad, más infantil que adulta, lo que significa que la imagen del peral en flor que la acompaña, y que parece ser el epítome de la sexualidad y la fertilidad, se desperdicia en el caso de Janie, ya que ella se niega a crecer y a convertirse en fértil ya sea procreando o contribuyendo de forma creativa a las comunidades en las que vive. 


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How to Cite

Harris, T. “Quot”;. Revista De Estudios Norteamericanos, no. 21, June 2018,



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