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A Problem Shared Is a Problem Half Solved Because Language has

AProblem Shared Is a Problem Half Solved Because Language hasrestorative power

Keeplove in your heart, for life without it, is like a sunless gardenwhen the flowers are dead.”In the narrative, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” Janie Crawfordstruggles to find love, respect, and social security from the firsttwo marriages, but she ends up feeling awkward with her first twolovers because they could not understand her feelings. Hergrandmother describes the black woman as a mule to imply that theyare unproductive. However, Janie later manages to bring forthchildren after she got married to Tea Cake. Although Tea Cake was notas affluent as her previous lovers were, he was romantic, respectful,and willing to listen to his wishes. The narrator asserts, “Shelacked blossomy openings that were dusting pollen over her men, andthey never had any glistering young fruits that held petalspreviously” (Hourston 26). The metaphor proves that she wascompletely unhappy in her previous marriages.

Onthe other hand, the “Douglass’ narrative” is a story of a youngslave who yearns for love and freedom. However, he describes slaveryas “ahorrible pit that lacks means for getting out.”The book constructs a clear picture of the challenges and abuse thatslaves underwent under their harsh masters. Fortunately, just likeJanie’s struggles to find a lover who could understand herfeelings, share openly, as well as make her happy, becomestriumphant, Douglass succeeds in escaping from the bondages ofslavery. He learns how to read and write, and then devised a cleverescape plans that helps him to escape to the north, where he joinsanti-slavery movements (Masters and Dorothy 7).

Thisessay hypothesizes that a problem shared is a problem half solvedsince communication can help to eradicate some common problems.

Hurston’sbook title “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” is a metaphor to implythat the porch sitters thought Janie Crawford had a posh lifestyleand she was happy. However, Janie likens her first two marriages tothe mule that the men folk were using in their banters. She hadremained barren and probably deprived of her conjugal rights, as itlater emerges that Jody was impotent. The narrator claims that Jodybrought a mule, but he failed to make it function. This imageryimplies that he failed his responsibility of listening and sharingissues with Janie, his lover (Hurston 17).

Similarly,Douglass paints a negative picture concerning the slavery. He usesthe metaphor “horrible pit” to describe the terrible physical andmental abuse slaves experienced. The horrible pit he describes, aswell as the means for getting out of the pit refers to the educationthat he required to overcome oppression. Janie needed love and anunderstanding person to become happy in life. She found theessentials from Tea Cake, a young and poor person that her previouslovers, but the person who made her feel happy and most satisfied. Equally, Douglass initially though he could gain the mental andphysical bondage in his masters’ farms through being a brute. Heeven beats Covey who was famous for neutralizing slaves. However, helater discovered that education was the most powerful tool infighting slavery. Both Janie and Douglass success in accomplishingtheir ambitions were accomplished through sharing their personalsuffering with others. Mr. Hugh advised Douglass to begin by learningalphabets, which was the beginning of his long journey to freedom. Likewise, Janie found genuine love, happiness, and satisfactionbecause Tea Cake was open to him. They shared problems and discussedvarious challenges they underwent.

Thebook describes Janie as a physically attractive woman that many mendesired. At the age of sixteen, Janie’s grandmother weds her toLogan Killicks, a farmer at Eatonville. Janie’s grandmother wantedto give her grandchild the best in life. Since Killicks was a senioremployee in a successful farmer, she thought she could be more happyand satisfied with her husband than with her. However, Janie is nothappy in the marriage because Logan does not understand her wishes orlisten to the things she desires to be happy. The relationshipbecomes so rocky over time, to the extent that Logan threatens tokill Janie for she was allegedly disobeying him (Masters and Dorothy11). The two often quarreled occasionally because Logan was ano-nonsense prosaic character who could not listen nor share herproblems. He treated her as a child with nothing positive tocontribute in their relationship. The disregarding attitude made heran unhappy and resistant wife for Logan.

Equally,Douglass’ masters treated him with a dictatorial attitude. In thefirst six months during his stay at Covey’s farm, Douglass wasterribly whipped to as a way of disciplining him. However, theconstant whipping makes Douglass brutish to the extent of fightingwith Mr. Covey for two hours incessantly. If Mr. Cover could havecommunicated to his slaves what he wanted them to do, they could havecomplied. The narrator claims that Mr. Freeman’s farm operated onquite liberal policies, without oppressing or beating slaves, buttheir productivity was significantly higher than that of other farmswhere slaves were terribly beaten. Tea Cake understood that Janierequired attention, respect and a confidant to become happy in life.After providing her with these provisions, she automatically becamesatisfied and happy. On the same note, Mr. Freeman maintainseffective communication and openness that encouraged his slaves toshare with share even secrets of their colleagues. Probably, one ofthe people Douglass was planning an escape plan with betrayed him toMr. Freeman because he was willing to listen to everyone (Douglass16).

Justas Ralph Ellison’s assertion, “The word has the potency toblind,” Joe Starks uses romantic and smooth language to convinceJanie that she was the best lover for her. Janie flirted with himeven when she was still married to Logan because she desiredattention, love, and respect that she was not getting from Logan.After flirting for a couple of weeks, she fell in love with theambitious Joe. By the time Janie eloped with Joe, the author claimsthat he was an ambitious man, but it is not evident that he wasalready wealthy as Logan. This proves that “sweet” language andinspirational language are the best love components that men requireto win women’s love. In the recent past, many young men havedeveloped a misconception that “they need money to call someonehoney.” Joe Starks breaks this myth by successfully wooing a girlwho was legitimately married to a more financially stable, andrespectable, person in the society than he (Masters and Dorothy 15).Similarly, Sophia Auld was initially kind and friendly towardsDouglass in the first days after he was transferred to New York. Sophia even tried to educate Douglass before her husband discouragedher to teach system. According to Douglass, the white slave mastersdeliberately prevented the slaves from accessing education or sharinginformation because they knew communication could make them wise andhard to manipulate.

Anotherevidence that “word has the power to revive and make humans freefrom the various imprisonment in “Their Eyes Were Watching God”is portrayed through Pheoby Watson. Watson was also a porch sitter,but she was different from the other black people in the town. Thetownspeople watched the Janie’s signs of impoverishment and sadnesswith despise. They gossiped in hushed undertones about her miserablestatus. Some claimed that Tea Cake, her fun-loving husband stole herwealth and escaped with a younger woman. However, Pheoby proved aworthy friend because she intently listened to Janie’s recount ofher struggle to get love (Masters and Dorothy 7). She confesses thatthe only person who was able to give show her true love was the lateTea Cake. Despite the fact that Tea Cake was the poorest spouse outof the three suitors, he made Janie feel more loved than she feltwith Logan and Joe. By the end of the book, Janie claims that shefeels relieved and glad after the conversation she had with Pheoby.In other words, sharing her experiences with her friend revived andfreed her soul from the depression that was gradually “eating herup” internally. As the adage goes, a problem shared is half solved,the author claims that Janie felt at one with Tea Cake that night.She also experiences special joy after sharing her experiences.Although she has no money, a rich husband to improve her socialsecurity and status, Janie is relaxed and happy just because herfriend listens to her experiences (Masters and Dorothy 37). Douglassalso confirms that communication does revive and make humans freewith his unrelenting effort to educate his fellow slaves at the homesof free blacks and at the Sabbath school. Educating the slaves was aserious crime, and it came with dire consequences, but Douglassrisked imprisonment, whipping, and other corporal punishment theslaves underwent in their masters’ plantations (Douglass 33).

Onthe other hand, the “Douglass Narrative” is an autobiography ofFredrick Douglass. The power of education helps to revive and freeDouglass from the slavery they were subject to in the United States.According to the book, Douglass was born in slavery and separatedfrom his mother soon afterwards. The journey of a thousand milesstarts with one-step. His transformation journey and development intoan antislavery activist began after Captain Anthony sent him to workfor Hugh Auld, his son in law. In the first days, Douglass had a goodrelationship with Auld’s wife, Sophia, such that she volunteered toeducate him. However, her husband soon advises her to stop educatinghim, as well as treating him because he would become had to manage.Fortunately, Douglass understands the power of word and communication(Masters and Dorothy 51). He manages to convince the children in theneighborhood to educate him. Over time, he learns about theanti-slavery movement. He starts inciting his fellow slaves to revoltagainst their masters in order to demand their rights. Douglassstarted rebelling against slavery to the extent that he was at onetime given to a brutal slave owner called Edward Covey. Covey wasfamous for disciplining notorious slaves. For the first six months,he managed to beat and oppress Douglass. However, the brutality endsafter Douglass and Covey fight for two hours. Covey never beat himagain in the remaining part of the year. According to the author, hispower to resist and fight his masters was borne from education. Hestrived to educate his fellow slaves so that they could discovertheir rights and join the anti-slavery movement, but all in vain. Forexample, someone betrayed his escape plan to Freeland, his master,who sent to jail. The whites knew that education is an empoweringtool, so they used all means to ensure people such as Douglass willnot educate the other laborers because they would become difficult tomanage (Masters and Dorothy 59). In “Their Eyes Were Watching God,”the narrator also asserts that communication is an effective tool forhelping people overcome self-imprisonment. Joe’s health and manhoodproblem were probably simple problems that he could have solved if hewas open to his colleagues. Instead, he opted to blame shift hisimpotence problems on Janie acting too young for her age.

Fromthe two readings, it is evident that Ralph Ellison’s assertion that“word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also thepower to blind, imprison and destroy” is true. Word, or ratherconversation, helps to uplift Janie’s mood when she was mourningher beloved husband, Tea Cake, who succumbed to bullet injuries. Inaddition, word in the form of education and networking with educatingpersons helped to free Douglass from the bonds of slavery. On theother hand, Joe Starks in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” succumbsto depression and poor health after his wife accuses him of impotency(Masters and Dorothy 79). Instead of searching for medicalassistance, he decides to criticize Janie that she was acting tooyoung for her age. His death can be blamed on ignorance and lack ofeffective communication with relevant people who could have helpedhim to overcome health challenges. The readings support the fact thata problem shared is a problem half solved because language hasrestorative power. People with effective communication skills arehappy, wise and find it easy to access their desired information(Masters and Dorothy 83).


Masters,Roy, and Dorothy Baker. TheSecret Power of Words.Los Angeles, Calif: Foundation of Human Understanding, 2008. Print.

Hurston,Z. Neale.Their Eyes Were Watching God.HarperCollins. 1937. Print.

Douglass,Frederick.Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.Penguin Books. 1982. Print.