Their Eyes Were Watching God
How we cite our quotes:
Mrs. Bogle came walking down the street towards the porch. Mrs. Bogle who was many times a grandmother, but had a blushing air of coquetry about her that cloaked her sunken cheeks. You saw a fluttering fan before her face and magnolia blooms and sleepy lakes under the moonlight when she walked. There was no obvious reason for it, it was just so. Her first husband had been a coachman but "studied jury" to win her. He had finally become a preacher to hold her till his death. Her second husband worked in Fohnes orange grove – but tried to preach when he caught her eye. He never got any further than a class leader, but that was something to offer her. It proved his love and pride. She was a wind on the ocean. She moved men, but the helm determined the port. Now, this night, she mounted the steps and the men noticed her until she passed inside the door. (6.167)
Despite her old age, Mrs. Bogle has an irresistible sensuality about her; thus all her husbands have had to hold high ranks to win her hand in marriage. She treats marriage not as a matter of love, but like an economic system, where she gives her beauty and sensuality to the man who can offer her the most social prestige.
She wasn’t petal-open with anymore with him [Joe]. (6.184)
Janie falls out of love with Joe after he strikes her and her violent disillusionment is described in terms of Janie’s pear blossoms. She is no longer Joe’s flower with her petals open to tell him all her secrets; after his violence towards her, Janie’s petals and love have closed.
Janie could see Jody watching her out of the corner of his eye while he joked roughly with Mrs. Robbins. He wanted to be friendly with her again. His big, big laugh was as much for her as for the baiting. He was longing for peace but on his own terms. (6.188)
After their argument, Joe wants to make up with Janie but is too proud to say it outright. Instead, he hints at it with sidelong glances and his big, irresistible laugh. He wants love, but without making any sacrifices himself. Can there really be love without both parties making sacrifices?