Their Eyes Were Watching God
How we cite our quotes:
After that she came to where Joe Starks was waiting for her with a hired rig. He was very solemn and helped her to the seat beside him. With him on it, it sat like some high, ruling chair. From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything. A bee for her bloom. (4.59)
After being threatened with death by Logan, Janie runs away from her failed marriage and vows that she will have the beautiful love represented by her pear tree. She promises to herself that she will not settle for less. She sees Joe as her vehicle to this love and thus elopes with him, despite the fact that he represents the far horizon far more than her "flower dust and springtime." However, she’s so blinded by her happiness to be leaving Logan that she mistakenly thinks Joe is "a bee for her bloom."
She [Janie] had never thought of making a speech, and didn’t know if she cared to make one at all. It must have been the way Joe spoke out without giving her a chance to say anything one way or another that took the bloom off of things. But anyway, she went down the road behind him that night feeling cold. He strode along invested with his new dignity, thought and planned out loud, unconscious of her thoughts. (5.108)
The first sign of trouble in Janie’s second marriage comes when Joe completely cuts Janie off when she is invited to speak publicly. Though Janie does not really want to speak, she resents Joe for not even giving her the chance to reply. This quick silencing of Janie takes "the bloom off of things" or takes the romance – represented by Janie’s pear blossoms – out of the moment. This leaves her feeling "cold" when she should be flushed with warmth for love of Joe.
But here come Bootsie, and Teadi and Big ‘woman down the street making out they are pretty by the way they walk. They have got that fresh, new taste about them like young mustard greens in the spring, and the young men on the porch are just bound to tell them about it and buy them some treats.
"Head come mah order right now," Charlie Jones announces and scrambles off the porch to meet them. But he has plenty of competition. A pushing, shoving show of gallantry. They all beg the girls to just buy anything they can think of. Please let them pay for it. Joe is begged to wrap up all the candy in the store and order more. All the peanuts and soda water – everything!
"Gal, Ah’m crazy ‘bout you," Charlie goes on to the entertainment of everybody. "Ah’ll do anything in the world except work for you and give you mah money." (6.143-146)
The attractive young girls entering the store have that innocence and ideal of love that Janie describes through natural imagery; she compares them to "young mustard greens in the spring." Accordingly, the young men jump to play at courting them. These young people are playing at love, flirting and testing each other out.