[Janie] was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.
This passage from Chapter
The passage also relates to an even deeper desire, which
is the ultimate goal of the love that Janie seeks: a sense of enlightenment, of
oneness with the world around her. The language of this passage is
evocative of the erotic, naturalistic romanticism of Walt Whitman.
Like Whitman’s poetry, Hurston’s prose here finds divinity and spirituality
in the fertile lushness of the natural world (“the ecstatic shiver
of the tree . . . frothing with delight”). Janie sees nature as
she wants it to be: a world full of beauty and fulfillment. She
chases after this ideal because she wants to experience a harmonization
with the beautiful and wild forces that she witnesses under the
pear tree. Later events—particularly the hurricane of Chapter