Sunday, February 22, 2009

Janie's life Before and After Joe

Between Chapters 1 and 10 the reader sees Janie in two different lights. In the first half she is docile and allows herself to be dominated first by Nanny and then by Joe. She stays in the shadows. Hurston writes " The years took all the fight out of Janie's face. For awhile she thought it was gone from her soul. ". This quote shows that she is hiding her internal feeling within herself and is not speaking what she feels. Even when Janie ran away with Joe this was a rebellious act but it was influenced by Joe's seduction and how he dominated her emotions. Until his death Joe continued to stringently rule Janie and steal freedom.
When Joe dies the reader notices a change in Janie. She refuses to remarry and guards herself. When she wants she sits on the porch and speaks her mind. As Hurston writes in chapter 8 page 90 Janie wants her jewel to shine. She no longer wants it to be caked over with mud and buried. Janie admits to Phoebe that she is not upset that Joe died. She likes her freedom and at the end of chapter 10 it looks like Janie plans on staying free and away from the dominance of others


  1. Kayleigh, i agree with what you have said about Janie's life before and after the death of Joe. As you said, Janie is never able to speak her mind when she is with Joe. He doesn't let her talk to the people on the porch and gets mad when she does something wrong at the store. Rather than being able to express her thoughts she is forced into silence. I don't think that Joe was intentionally trying to make Janie unhappy by doing this. I think he was rather following society where there are gender roles and social hierarchies. After Joe's death it is shown that Janie gains more freedom. She talks to the proch sitters and lets down her hair. Overall, i agree with the points you have made.

  2. Janie definitely seems to gain more freedom after Joe dies. As you said, this seems to be due to Joe's dominating nature. At the same time, I think Janie realizes that she has lived how others want her to (specifically Nanny and Joe) and both times "failed". Therefore, her determination to stay free is a result of both the loss of a dominating environment (Joe) and the development of her own determination due to time and experience.

  3. I agree with your comments but I don't think Janies freedom can stay. She has always had a dominating figure in her life (nanny, joe, logan) and i don't think her freedom will stay. Also, based on our psychology discussion in class, her lack of a father in her youth will maker her needy for another dominant male. (enter Teacake)