Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

Their Eyes Were Watching God Chapter 4 Quotes Page 6

Page (6 of 9) Quotes:   1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9  
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Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Quote 16

The morning road air was like a new dress. That made her feel and apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet. After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. (4.59)

By throwing off her apron and accepting a high seat next to Joe, Janie symbolically discards her status as a domestic, working-class woman. She emerges to take a seat in higher class, among the people who sit in a "high, ruling chair." Interestingly, Janie has social mobility not because of intelligence or talent or education, but because she’s beautiful.

"Janie!" Logan called harshly. "Come help me move dis manure pile befo’ de sun gits hot. You don’t take a bit of interest in dis place. ‘Tain’t no use in foolin’ round in dat kitchen all day long…"

"You don’t need mah help out dere, Logan. Youse in yo’ place and Ah’m in mine."

"You ain’t got no particular place. It’s wherever Ah need yuh. Git uh move on yuh, and dat quick." (4.52-54)

Despite her chafing under Logan’s rule, Janie does indeed want boundaries. She likes to think of her "place" in the house, reigning over a domestic sphere. This is her comfort zone. However, Logan’s definition of her place is, ironically, far more confining. He says that her place is wherever he needs her. So, in effect, he wants to strip her identity and freedom.

Quote 18

The morning road air was like a new dress. That made her feel and apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet. After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. (4.59)

Although Janie doesn’t explicitly say it, she has felt confined in her marriage to Logan. Evidence of this can be found in all the instances where Logan kept trying to put Janie "in her place." So Janie throws off Logan’s constraints with her old apron and finds freedom walking off through the flowered fields and finding Joe ready to take her away to a new, liberated life.

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