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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.
Six months back he [Logan] had told her, "If Ah kin haul de wood heah and chop it fuh yuh, look lak you oughta be able tuh tote it inside. Mah fust wife never bothered me ‘bout choppin’ no wood nohow. She’d grab dat ax and sling chips lak uh man. You done been spoilt rotten."
So Janie had told him, "Ah’m just as stiff as you is stout. If you can stand not to chop and tote wood Ah reckon you can stand not to git no dinner. ‘Scuse mah freezolity, Mist’ Killicks, but Ah don’t mean to chop de first chip." (4.1-2)
Logan and Janie both have strong opinions about gender roles in a marriage. Logan thinks a wife essentially exists to make life as easy for her husband as possible. He gradually increases the number of tasks he thinks she should do: cook, care for the house, now he’s adding chopping and hauling wood to the list, and shortly afterwards including plowing and planting potatoes. Janie, however, thinks both spouses should pull their weight equally. In her mind, the man should chop the wood while the woman makes dinner.