Study Guide

Janey Wagon in Beloved

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Janey Wagon

Janey's the practical, tell-it-like-it-is servant for the Bodwins. She's fiercely protective of the Bodwins—but don't think it's because she's all warm and fuzzy. This girl knows what side her bread is buttered on.

The happiness and well-being of the Bodwins means Janey has a permanent job. Case in point: she tells Stamp that she's "'so glad her boss ain't dead [from Sethe]. If Ella hadn't clipped [Sethe], she say she would have. Scared her to death have that woman kill her boss. She and Denver be looking for a job'" (27.264). See what we mean? Janey's all about practicality.

She also works hard to help out Sethe, another black woman. For example, she doesn't tell Mr. Bodwin what Sethe was really planning on doing (killing Mr. Bodwin) that day at 124 when Mr. Bodwin drove over to pick up Denver (27.264). As a result, Mr. Bodwin doesn't even think to press charges against Sethe. And let's not forget that Janey was the one to help Denver get the job at the Bodwins'.

Janey's a lot like the other women who make up the circle of townswomen. She may be unsentimental and tough, but when it comes time to help out someone in the black community—especially a woman—she's up to the task.

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