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Janie found out very soon that her widowhood and property was a great challenge in South Florida. Before Jody had been dead a month, she noticed how often men who had never been intimates of Joe, drove considerable distances to ask after her welfare and offer their services as advisor.
"Uh woman by herself is uh pitiful thing," she was told over and again. "Dey needs aid and assistance. God never meant ‘em tuh try tuh stand by theirselves. You ain’t been used tuh knockin’ round and doin’ fuh yo’self, Mis’ Starks. You been well taken keer of, you needs a man." (9.5-6)
Women are considered incapable of fending for themselves. Janie’s suitors seem to use this argument to feel that they remain in control, and obscure the fact Janie is in a position of power because of her physical attractiveness and her wealth.
"Womenfolks is easy taken advantage of. You know what tuh let none uh dese stray niggers dat’s settin’ round heah git de inside track on yuh. They’s jes lak uh pack uh hawgs, when dey see uh full trough. What yuh needs is uh man dat yuh done lived uhround and know all about tuh sort of manage yo’ things fuh yuh and generally do round." (9.13)
Ike Green tries to feed Janie the idea that women cannot function on their own, without a man. However, readers recognize that Ike is one of the "hawgs" that he is so quick to condemn. Janie also isn’t as dumb and easily duped as Ike thinks either. She recognizes Ike’s tactics and calls him a "pee-de-bed."
Besides she liked being lonesome for a change. This freedom feeling was fine. These men didn’t represent a thing she wanted to know about. She had already experienced them through Logan and Joe. She felt like slapping some of them for sitting around grinning at her like a pack of chessy cats, trying to make out they looked like love. (9.7)
Having experienced horrible failed marriages with Logan and Joe, Janie enjoys her single status for the first time in a long time. Now she knows what she wants out of a man and she definitely knows what she doesn’t want – pretense of love. Now that Janie has learned what love is not, she will soon learn what it is.