Their Eyes Were Watching God
How we cite our quotes:
On the train the next day, Joe didn’t make many speeches with rhymes to her, but he bought her the best things the butcher had, like apples and a glass lantern full of candies. Mostly he talked about plans for the town when he got there […] Janie took a lot of looks at him and she was proud of what she saw. Kind of portly like rich white folks. Strange trains, and people and places didn’t scare him neither. Where they got off the train at Maitland he found a buggy to carry them over to the colored town right away. (5.1)
Janie’s pride in Joe is not for his merits, but a self-congratulating pride that claps her on the back for having found a fine a catch as Joe. She anticipates the wealth she will live in with him, as evidenced by the "apples and a glass lantern full of candles" that he has already bought for her.
[Joe]: "…Ah’m goin’ see de man. You cannot have no town without some land to build it on. Y’all ain’t got enough here to cuss a cat on without gittin’ yo’ mouf full of hair."
"He ain’t got no mo’ land tuh give away. Yuh needs plenty money if yuh wants any mo’."
"Ah specks to pay him."
The idea was funny to them and they wanted to laugh. They tried hard to hold it in, but enough incredulous laughter burst out of their eyes and leaked from the corners of their mouths to inform anyone of their thoughts. So Joe walked off abruptly. Most of them went along to show him the way and to be there when his bluff was called. (5.44-47)
Joe’s sense of pride almost requires humbling others around him. His sense of pride demands that he go purchase more land, but he also insults the men of Eatonville with his "cuss a cat" comment.
There was a long dead pause. Janie was not jumping at her chance like she ought to. Look like she didn’t hardly know he [Hicks] was there. She needed waking up. (5.55)
When Janie ignores Hicks’ advances, his pride is injured. To Hicks, going unnoticed is more insulting that being outright rejected; rejection would at least be an acknowledgement that he is a man and is flirting with her.