Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[Joe to Janie]: "You behind a plow! You ain’t got no mo’ business wid uh plow than uh hog is got wid uh holiday! You ain’t got no business cuttin’ up no seed p’taters neither. A pretty doll-baby lak you is made to sit on de front porch and rock and fan yo’self and eat p’taters dat other folks plant just special for you." (4.26)
On the surface, Joe has a different conception of a woman’s proper role than Logan. A "pretty doll-baby" should be treated like a queen, never obliged to work and always served by others. What the young, naïve Janie does not realize is that Joe doesn’t think that pampering a woman is necessary because she’s a valuable human being, but because she’s a valuable object. This is not so different from Logan after all, who also considers Janie an object. For Joe, women are objects to look at, for Logan they’re objects to be utilized.
Janie got up with him the next morning and had the breakfast halfway done when he bellowed from the barn.
"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." (4.51-54)
Janie thinks that both men and women have their proper place in a marriage; the man should be out in the barn scooping up the manure while the woman should be indoors, making meals. Logan, however, thinks that the woman should serve the man, no matter what place he wants to put her in. Essentially, a woman has no defined identity or role outside of what her husband gives her.
[Tony Taylor when Joe is made mayor]: "And now we’ll listen tuh uh few words uh encouragement from Mrs. Mayor Starks."
The burst of applause was cut short by Joe taking the floor himself.
"Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but nah wife don’t know nothin’ ‘bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat. She’s uh woman and her place is in de home." (5.107-109)
Joe, like many men, think that women do not have the intellectual capacity of men and should not be allowed to speak. He cuts short any chance for Janie to make herself heard because he considers a woman’s place not in the public eye, but in the privacy of the home. Joe jealousy guards Janie and wants her all to himself because he fears losing her.