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[Nanny to Janie]: "Don’t tell me you done got knocked up already, less see – dis Saturday it’s two month and two weeks."
"No’m, Ah don’t think so anyhow." Janie blushed a little.
"You ain’t got nothin’ to be shamed of, honey, youse uh married ‘oman. You got yo’ lawful husband same as Mis’ Washburn or anybody else!" (3.10-12)
To Nanny, a woman should take pride in bearing her husband’s children. Conversely, unmarried women should be ashamed of getting pregnant. So, in Nanny’s eyes, women’s worth is defined by their position relative to men.
She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie’s first dream was dead, so she became a woman. (3.31)
Girls, according to the narrator, become women through hardship. Thus, girls must have their dreams shattered to become women.
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn’t know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, "Ah hope you fall on soft ground," because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. (3.31)
When Janie’s marriage to Logan does not become the love match she dreamed, Janie’s thoughts return to the same nature that made her beautiful pear tree. She is still fascinated with birth and creation, as illustrated by her metaphor of the world as a stallion and her concept of God rebuilding the world every evening. She yearns and comes to "expect" these "things," as a woman who is capable of reproducing, but who is frustrated by her loveless marriage.