Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Porch Conversations Influence on Janie

While Janie is working at the store, several members of the community sit on the porch and have discussions about a multitude of topics. I found the conversation about nature versus caution between Sam Watson and Lige Moss to be interesting and important to the novel as a whole. Lige challenges Sam to the question “What is it dat keeps uh man from getting’ burnt on uh red-hot stove- caution or nature?” Sam and Lige each take different sides of the argument and reason their individual points. While Sam believes humans naturally know not to touch a hot stove, Lige argues that humans are taught these actions. This conversation discusses the relationship between the human and the world around them. Sam rebuts Lige’s statement and claims “Naw it ain’t (caution), it’s nature because nature makes caution. It’s de strongest thing dat God ever made, now. Fact is it’s the onliest thing God ever made. He made nature and nature made everything else.” This particular conversation brings up one of the main themes of the novel which is the relationship between each individual and the world around them. This relates to Janie because she wants to understand herself and be in accord with the world.
I think that the porch conversations have an influence over Janie. Janie sees and hears the conversations and is drawn to them because they are free thinking ideas and the people are able to express their opinions easily. As Janie is trying to understand herself these conversations help her to start thinking about her connection to the world and society. Although Janie is suppressed into silence by Joe, she is an independent thinker and finds the community discussions interesting. Janie probably wants to participate in these conversations but is not allowed to. With Joe’s death Janie is able to find her voice more and talk with others more frequently. The dialect of the townspeople further pushes Janie on her journey to understand herself and find her place in the world.

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