Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Hurricane Symbol Analysis

The Hurricane Symbol Icon
The hurricane symbolizes the all-powerful force of nature, which trumps even the most intense exertions of power by humans, such as Jody's abusive need for control, or Mrs. Turner's sense of racial hierarchy, or Tea Cake's physical strength. While the pear tree, also a symbolic element in nature, symbolizes the idea of harmony – between humans and nature, between sex and love – the hurricane symbolizes the senselessness of nature and its ultimate disregard for human needs. It is during the novel's climactic hurricane scene that Janie, Tea Cake and Motor Boat contemplate the existence of God most explicitly for the first time in the novel, questioning his existence and whether or not he even cares about humans if he does, in fact, exist.
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The Hurricane Symbol Timeline in Their Eyes Were Watching God

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Hurricane appears in Their Eyes Were Watching God. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...where they're going. The Indians reply that they're going to higher ground, explaining that a hurricane is coming. Fear about the potential hurricane buzzes through the muck as more Indians continue... (full context)
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
...some friends over, all of whom decide to remain in the muck despite the oncoming hurricane, and they begin to celebrate – eating, singing and dancing as other town dwellers continue... (full context)
Gender Roles and Relations Theme Icon
Voice, Language and Storytelling Theme Icon
Desire, Love, and Independence Theme Icon
Power, Judgment, and Jealousy Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...Cake and Janie's home to seek shelter in their own homes. The arrival of the hurricane is intensely violent, marked by "screaming wind…crashing…things hurtling and dashing with unbelievable velocity." Janie, Tea... (full context)