The Valpo Core Reader


Lezley Diaz

Document Type

Love Analytical Essay

Publication Date



The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, attempts to define love in its various forms through the eyes of its leading protagonist, Janie. The story journeys through the life of a young woman as she follows the path of love where subsequently she discovers her distinct identity, outside of her role as wife. Using an analytical lens, Janie's experiences with love bring into perspective a much bigger concept about the interpretation of love and how that interpretation molds her and the society in which she resides. This bigger concept oflove is best explained by Stephanie Coontz in her book, Marriage, A History from Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage and further elaborated by Martin Luther King Jr., who classifies love into three different categories: agape (love for neighbor), philia (requited love), and eros (romantic love) (King 95). These loves contribute to Janie's character and her capacity to appreciate herself as she becomes the love she wishes to see in the world.