Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
Logan Killicks is Janie’s first husband. Very little of Logan’s internal feelings are given; he may strike readers as a rather one-dimensional character. This dearth of information is appropriate given the emptiness and despair he symbolizes to Janie. What little we know of Logan is decidedly unpleasant information. He is old and ugly – in sharp contrast to Janie’s youthful beauty. Janie resents him for his asymmetrical face and for lacking the etiquette to wash his feet before coming to bed. If Janie represents beauty, Logan represents everything ugly there is – in terms of all the senses. In fact, Janie sees him as a "desecration" of her vision of true love, which is based on her experience underneath the blossoming pear tree. He represents the antithesis of her notion of love, and Janie goes into the marriage with skepticism veiled only by her naïve, young hope.
Logan is also emotionally destitute. What little affection he shows Janie at the beginning of the marriage is described as "speaking in rhymes" or only false words that quickly die away. After that, he only shows anger and frustration when Janie resists his attempts to command her. Logan seems to have the idea that marriage means dominating a woman, and women are objects for men to put to use. He also feels unappreciated by Janie because she doesn’t worship him for making her the mistress of 60 acres of land.
However, Logan is not an evil character, just a sullen one. His ineptitude with words belies the complexity of thought going on in his grizzled head. When Janie threatens to leave him, Logan feels genuine fear, but because such fear is incited by a woman, he does not have the vocabulary with which to respond. Thus, instead of directly addressing the issue and possibly putting himself in a position of vulnerability, Logan instead tries to brush off Janie’s threat and belittle it. As a result, Janie feels that he is insensitive and doesn’t value her, so she leaves Logan to elope with Joe Starks.