Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Janie’s second husband, Joe Starks, forces Janie to wear a head-rag when in public. Because Janie’s hair is so attractive to men, Joe jealously makes his wife bind her hair, constraining Janie’s femininity and stifling her identity. In an attempt to keep Janie all to himself, he suffocates her and loses her completely. When Joe dies, Janie wastes little time in burning all of the head-rags she owns. Here, the head-rag represents the constraints imposed on women by men in power.