Their Eyes Were Watching God
Language and Communication Quotes Page 9
How we cite our quotes:
"All you got tuh do is mind me. How come you can’t do lak Ah tell yuh?"
"You sho loves to tell me whut to do, but Ah can’t tell you nothin’ Ah see!"
"Dat’s ‘cause you need tellin’," he rejoined hotly. "It would be pitiful if Ah didn’t. Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves." (6.174-180
Joe has no qualms telling Janie what to do all the time. When Janie points out that he won’t listen to her, Joe brushes it off and tells her directly what he thinks of women’s intelligence. To him, women are stupid and cannot think for themselves. That’s why men must always speak in the imperative to them, directing their every action. It’s interesting that eventually Joe has an untimely death because he didn’t listen to Janie about how much he needed to see a doctor.
So gradually, she pressed her teeth together and learned to hush. (6.184)
Janie cannot win against Joe’s big voice so she "learn[s] to hush," silencing herself so that Joe doesn’t have to be humiliated by Joe telling her to shut up.
Janie did what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation. (6.215-217)
When Joe and his friends insult women’s intelligence, Janie is finally enraged enough to break her habitual silence and speak up. She crosses gender boundaries by doing this, taking on a masculine force as shown through the word "thrust."