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Quotes

Quote #1

[Pheoby]: "Gal, you sho looks good. You looks like youse yo’ own daughter." They both laughed. "Even wid dem overhalls on, you shows yo’ womanhood." (1.30)

Even at age forty and with men’s clothing on, Janie seems to be attractive enough to draw the gaze of not only her best friend but also the jealous gossipers on the porch. Pheoby shows the sincerity of her friendship by complimenting to Janie how good she looks, instead of attacking her with bitter words. Although Pheoby might envy Janie’s appearance at some subconscious level, she does not let it become so all-consuming that it compromises their friendship.

Quote #2

[Janie]: "Dere wuz uh knotty head gal name Mayrella dat useter git mad every time she look at me. Mis’ Washburn useter dress me up in all de clothes her gran’chillun didn’t need no mo’ which still wuz better’n whut de rest uh de colored chillun had. And then she useter put hair ribbon on mah head fuh me tuh wear. Dat useter rile Mayrella uh lot. So she would pick at me all de time and put some others up tuh do de same. They’d push me ‘way from de ring plays and make out they couldn’t play wid nobody dat lived on premises. Den they’d tell me not to be takin’ on over mah looks ‘cause they mama told ‘em ‘bout de hound dawgs huntin’ mah papa all night long." (2.10)

Even as a child, Janie is singled out and ostracized for her good looks. These natural attributes are only enhanced by the rich white-people’s clothing that she is privileged enough to wear. This little anecdote shows that women have hated Janie for her appearance for her entire life. Later, we learn that men have always loved her for it. So is her beauty a curse or a blessing?

Quote #3

[Janie on Logan]: "He look like some ole skullhead in de grave yard." (2.36)

Young naïve Janie judges men purely on their looks. Perhaps this comes from a sense of pride over her own beauty. Although Logan is ugly, he has positive attributes like his diligence and loyalty towards Janie. Young Janie is blinded by his outer ugliness. Later from Joe, she learns that being attractive, doesn’t make a man a good husband.

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