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"But now, Sam, you know dat all he [Joe] do is big-belly round and tell other folks what tuh do. He loves obedience out of everybody under de sound of his voice." (5.136)
After Joe dismisses Pitts from service for stealing from him, the men of Eatonville begin to notice and chafe under Joe’s excessive pride. They recognize him as primarily a voice always commanding others. Joe takes pleasure in having the town’s obedience, but his pride requires that others’ are humiliated.
"Whut Ah don’t lak ‘bout de man is, he talks tuh unlettered folks wid books in his jaws," Hicks complained. "Showin’ off his learnin’." (5.140)
Again, Joe makes other men feel inadequate by pointing out their lack of an education while flaunting his own. It’s almost like Joe isn’t earning his pride, he’s just knocking others down so that he appears to be the biggest man.