Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I really liked this quote: The years took all the fight out of Janie's face. No matter what Jody did, she did nothing...she was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels... (72).
In this quote Hurston describes Janie during her marriage with Joe. Joe verbally abuses her continuously, as if she represents the "rut" in Joe's road and controls her oppressively. Although Janie has plenty of life and determination inside her, she is unable to let it all come out because of Joe's oppressive nature. Of course, a prime example of this is the way Joe forbids Janie to let down her hair in public. Janie's straight hair represents her spirit and individuality - it makes her unique in the midst of all the other black woman. I felt that everytime Joe reproved her with verbal or physical abuse a little part of her soul wept in sadness and submission. Thus Joe's vitriolic attacks keep beating Janie down, like the wheels of a wagon perhaps.
I suppose that this attitude of Janie's was very common in the 1920s to the 30s. In fact, women were given suffrage rights only in 1919 - so before that, women were not even in an equal footing! So even though this subservient nature is not typical of Janie, I am sure that it was typical for many women of that time period.