Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Joe Starks Quotes
[Joe]: "I god amighty! A woman stay round uh store till she get old as Methusalem and still can’t cut a little thing like a plug of tobacco! Don’t’ stand dere rollin’ yo’ pop eyes at me wid yo’ rump hangin’ nearly to yo’ knees!"
A big laugh started off in the store but people got to thinking and stopped. It was funny if you looked at it right quick, but it got pitiful if you thought about it awhile. It was like somebody snatched off part of a woman’s clothes while she wasn’t looking and the streets were crowded. (7.12-13)
Joe’s excessive pride and his insistence on pointing out Janie’s (nonexistent) flaws are becoming noticeable to the community at large. When Joe goes too far in insulting Janie’s looks (which are far from aged and haggard), the townspeople realize how pitiful Joe’s tactics are. Joe hopes that his pride makes him admirable, but now it has rendered him pitiful.
[Joe]: "Dat’s ‘cause you ain’t got de right feelin’ for nobody. You oughter have some sympathy ‘bout yo’self. You ain’t no hog."
"But, Jody, I meant tuh be awful nice."
"Much as Ah done fun yuh. Holdin’ me up tuh scorn. No sympathy!"
"Naw, Jody, it wasn’t because Ah didn’t have no sympathy. Ah had uh lavish uh dat. Ah just didn’t never git no chance tuh use none of it. You wouldn’t let me." (8.26-29)
Joe’s accusations of Janie being a cold and callous woman simply do not resonate with the reader, who has seen Janie’s side of the struggle. We know that Joe is a hypocrite; he is the one with no sympathy for Janie, always serving only himself and his ego with his big voice. Though he accuses Janie of being inhumane for having no compassion, we know who the real "hog" is.