Chapter 5- Chapter 9 (Their Eyes were Watching God


Janie Comparing New life to Old life

Throughout Chapter 5, Hurston shows how Janie is comparing her new life/ husband to that of her old one. We get the sense that because it is different for her, she assumes that it is better.

"…we ain't natural wid one 'nother. You'se always off talkin' and fixin' things, and Ah feels lak Ah'm jus' markin' time. Hope it soon gits over" (page 62)

  • No connection between them, no progression from the relationship that she had with Logan.

  • Joe just wants Janie to stay at home as a status symbol, as he feels that she is no use to him when he is building the city from scratch.

  • She want's things to end because there is no interaction between them and is fed up of all these things that he is going off and doing but not including her in it.

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Janie Comparing New life to Old life


"on the train the next day….." (page 45)

  • Conversation is still one sided with Joe

  • More confident with the relationship, as he is promising more to her

  • New perspective on life.

  • More excited about the life that she has now, compared to the life she had before.

  • Appear in a very cared for manner

  • Impressed about how he portrays himself (his manner and appearance)

"Thank yuh fuh yo' compliments…." (page 57)

  • In a position of power

  • He didn't marry her because he values her opinions, but because she is a status symbol

  • Makes all of these assumptions about Janie, no value of her

  • Only cares about her appearance

  • Has more of an equal value with Logan than she does with Joe

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Setting of the Novel

The novel is set in Florida after the abolition of slavery. Florida is said to have been built on the back of slavery and by the time that the Civil war broke out in 1860, half of the population of Florida were enslaved. The racist legacy of slavery is still felt by Nanny, which has ramifications for Janie.

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Setting in Chapter 5-9

Hurston depicts Joe making rapid changes to Eatonville upon arrival. What is she showing about his character? How does this relate to his relationship with Janie?

On arrival: "Joe notes the scant dozen of shamefaced houses"

  • That he has built all of these houses and they have not turned out to be what he expected.

  • He wants to have power over her

  • He is the only one to make decisions and doesn't want to be criticised by anyone

"De first street lamp in uh colored town. Lift yo' eyes and gaze on it"

  • She is showing how he only cares about the town and houses that he has built

  • This shows how he values her less than the houses he has built, showing how there is no connection or love between them. He clearly doesn't care at all about her

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Eatonville vs Logan's Farm vs Childhood

How does Eatonville compare and contrast to life on Logan's farm, and Janie's childhood under the pear tree?

  • Eatonville

    • More people

    • Watching what she does

    • No freedom

    • Chooses to run away with Joe

  • Childhood

  • Logan's farm

    • Trapped

    • No connection between them

    • She had to do what Logan told her to do

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Comparison of setting to Gilead

  • More powerful government and rules in Gilead

    • Repressive

    • No freedom

    • Constantly being watched

  • Better people in both settings get the best houses because they have the power and more status

  • Roots run deep with the characters

  • Eatonville is being developed so there is more cooperation between people within the society.

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Theme of power and control

Joe instantly takes control of Eatonville, as he does with Janie. How does Hurston show that he does this?

"Ah'm buyin' in here, and buyin' in big. Soon's we find some place to sleep tonight us menfolk's got to call people together and form a committee. Then we can get things movin' round here"

  • Joe doesn't take control on a small scale, he takes control on a large scale

  • He talks about buying in big, showing how much power he has over the society.

  • He wants to be able to get people to live in this place and so there is more cooperation.

"So that's where the meeting was held with Tony Taylor acting as chairman and Jody doing all the talking"

  • In this quote we see that Joe has a massive influence and power over all of the decisions that should be made, without anyone else having a say in what should happen.

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