Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Their Eyes Were Watching God Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[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." (5.105-108)
Joe makes sure to deny Janie any chance of speaking, even when she is publicly invited. By denying her a voice, he shows that he completely dominates and controls her. He sees his wife’s ideal place as in the house and working silently at whatever he tells her to.
[Joe]: "Y’all know we can’t invite people to our town just dry long so. I god, naw. We got tuh feed ‘em something, and ‘tain’t nothin’ people laks better’n barbecue. Ah’ll give one whole hawg mah ownself. Seem lak all de rest uh y’all put tuhgether oughta be able tuh scrape up two mo’. Tell yo’ womenfolks tuh do ‘round ‘bout some pies and cakes and sweet p’tater pone." (5.116)
Joe takes on a commanding tone with the citizens of Eatonville, telling them what to do to prepare for a public party. Everyone seems to listen and obey, maybe because he has a big voice, and always sounds confident.
[Joe]: "Ah told you in de very first beginnin’ dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice. You oughta be glad, ‘cause dat makes uh big woman outa you." (5.126)
Joe’s idea of becoming a "big voice" or having great influence in Eatonville means a rise in his rank and the respect he commands. To Joe, communication is synonymous with power and influence. It’s important to note that by denying Janie a voice, he is keeping her powerless.