Zora Neale Hurston, a prominent writer and anthropologist of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930's and 40's was the most published African American woman. In 1937 in her most celebrated novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, she creates a character named Janie Crawford, who tries to find her self-realization. Born a victim of circumstance, Janie was subject to her position in life. She was raised to uphold the standards of the early African-American generation. From the beginning, she was taught to be passive and subject to whatever life gave her. As she grew older, she began to realize that she must give in to her desires and not suppress them. At first she was being pushed, then she was being chosen, and finally, she was able to choose.
Janie was set up for her journey of self-discovery by her grandmother, Nanny. Nanny set a goal for Janie's life by saying, "Ah wanted you to look upon yo'self. Ah don't want yo' feathers always crumpled by folks throwin' up things in yo' face (Hurston 20). Nanny wanted Janie to marry Logan Killicks, but according to Janie "he look like some ole skull-head in de grave yard (Hurston 28). Logan demanded things of Janie that she did not wish to do and tried to push her into his mold of a perfect wife. Janie did not love Logan, nor did he love her. She did not know what she wanted, but she was sure that she did not want Logan Killicks. Their marriage didn't last long. Logan changed; he did not give any respect to Janie's feelings, in fact he didn't want to hear what she had to say. As he saw it she was just there to do whatever he ordered. More and more Logan realized that Janie was not happy with him; he tried to force her into the traditional wife role by having her do demeaning work around the farm. The last straw was when he asked her to get a shovel and move a pile of manure.