Sunday, February 22, 2009

Characterization: Janie

After reading chapter 6-10, I definitely felt a deeper understanding of Janie's character - something she tried to get Joe to see. Janie as well as the general women public are diminished by Joe and the porch sitters. She is told that she is no good and can not do anything right. She bites her tongue, believing the men and not believing in herself. 

As the novel goes on, she comes to fully realize that the Jody she originally met as died. This realization expressed when the narrator states, "She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her. Then she went inside to see what it was. It was her image of Jody tumbled down and shattered" (72).  

Later, Janie feels offended when the porch sitters talk negatively about Mrs. Tony Robbins. Janie sees a similarity between Mrs. Robbins and herself. They both have husbands that do not support them. However, Mrs. Robbins seeks help from Joe. She asks for a small piece of meat to satisfy the hunger her and her children have endured. The men flout her actions and pity Tony for having a wife who would embarrass him in such a way. Janie jumps into the conversation and tells the men off, saying how they don't know as much as they think they do about women. She was not only defending women, but primarily herself. Janie further defends herself when Joe belittles Janie for cutting the tobacco incorrectly in the store. She puts Joe in his place by accusing him of being a hypocrite for calling her old when he is almost fifty.  Janie puts him down as he does her. This is a huge moment for Janie's steps towards the independence that she so deeply desires.

Joe gets sick and is on the verge of death and Janie gives final attempts towards trying to get Joe to listen to Janie. Their whole marriage was dominated with working for the down instead of for their relationship. Unfortunately, Joe does not change, portrayed when the Janie says, "You changes everything but nothin' don't change you-not even death" (86). Joe dies leaving Janie to enjoy her freedom. 

Janie is tempted to embark on new journeys, when suitors come to rescue the widow. She denies them all. However, one day a man named Tea Cake comes into the store and immediately allures Janie with his charm. She is flattered as he indirectly expresses how he believes women have equal capability to men. 

After recently being characterized as independent Janie sinks back into her hopes for love. Despite her past two husbands, she still remains hopeful that there is a man out their that will love her, but mainly respect her. She is ensured that this is possible through Tea Cake's character. Janie longs to prove to herself that she is worth more than she has been treated. She needs to prove this for herself and for all women. Janie subconsciously desires to return with the elixir, allowing women to lead happy and dignified lives.  

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