Janie, the main character, marries three times throughout the novel. Her marriages do not contain unconditional love and because of this, do not last. Her first husband, Joe Starks, belittles Janie as a person including her intellect. "Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don’t think none theirselves." (119). Joe shows his dominance over Janie by being the breadwinner in the relationship. Janie’s next marriage is with a man named Joe Starks. He tries to show his dominance over Janie by controlling her. “Janie! "Come help me move dis manure pile befo’ de sun gits hot. You don’t take a bit of interest in dis place. ‘Tain’t no use in foolin’ round in dat kitchen all day long…" (42). Joe belittles the
Janie is married to two men, before she finds Tea Cake, that both suppress her individuality in their own ways. Janie's first husband, Logan Killicks, suppresses her by keeping her in a marriage that she can't fully, or at all, love the man she's married to. "Cause you told me Ah wuz gointer love him, and, and Ah don’t. Maybe if somebody was to tell me how, Ah could do it." Janie says she needs to be told how to feel about Logan in order for her to be able to love feel anything towards him at all. Janie is a mixture of the people around her because they're telling her to live and how to think. Janie can't bring herself to figure out how to do these things on her own so she ends up looking for the answers in the man she married, her grandmother, and her society. Joe Starks, Janie's second husband, keeps her from showing who she really wants to be by
One day Logan tells Janie that he is going out to buy a mule, and wants her to do hard labor while he is gone Janie does not like this and offers to cut some potatoes instead. While Logan is out Janie meets, a man named Joe Starks from Georgia, who she describes as a citified stylishly dressed man, who to Janie is acting white.
Janie's attraction to Joe Starks' charisma quickly diminishes when his overdose of ambition and controlling personality get the best of him. Although he is a big voice in the town, Janie only sees him as a big voice. All his money and power have no effect on her when all he does is ridicule and control her. He makes it clear where Janie belongs: "Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's uh woman and her place is in de home" (Hurston 43). This is ironic because when she is with Logan, she wants to be in the house doing her own thing, but Joe is making it sound like confinement. It's as if she has no choice in the matter and Joe intends to make his power over her known. People have different desires and sometimes when we get caught up in our success, we can end up hurting others. Joe's reply to Janie is a great example of the insensitivity that can form from the pride we can possibly inherit when we achieve success: "Ah told you in de first beginnin' dat Ah aimed tuh be uh big voice.
Therefore, both Joe and Janie are looked up to by the townspeople. To some extent, this could be considered a form of equality. Unfortunately, this is about where the equality stops. While Joe gains prominence through his own actions and words, Janie gains some prominence by doing what she is told to do. She is not permitted to voice her own opinions or join in the lighthearted gossiping which occurs outside of their store. Janie is expected to be the dutiful wife. If she makes a mistake, then she should have known better and therefore should accept her punishment quietly. Joe holds the obvious upper hand in the relationship until his death whereupon Janie inherits a large amount of money and learns to enjoy the freedom of living as her own person.
All through the novel Janie travels through valuable life experiences allowing her to grow as a woman. Janie at first has a difficult time understanding her needs rather than wants, but as she continues to experience new situations she realizes she values respect. Janie’s first two marriages turned out to be tragic mistakes, but with each marriage Janie gained something valuable. When Janie is disrespected in her second marriage with Joe Starks, he publicly humiliates her, disrespecting her as a wife and woman. This experience forced Janie to come out of her comfort zone and stand up for herself.
Instead of treating Janie like the beautiful woman that she is, he uses her as an object. Joe was a man who “treasured [Janie] as a posession” (Berridge). Joe’s demanding nature suppresses Janie’s urge to grow and develop, thus causing her journey to self-realization to take steps backward rather than forward. In Janie’s opinion, “he needs to “have [his] way all [his] life, trample and mash down and then die ruther than tuh let [him]self heah 'bout it” (Hurston 122). It is almost as if Janie loses sense of her own self-consciousness due to the fact that she becomes like a puppy being told what to do by her master. The death of Jody is actually a positive thing. Joe’s controlling nature stifles Janie’s inner voice. While married to Jody, Janie became closer to others, however, she did not become closer to herself. Being on her own again gave her another chance to embark on her journey and realize who Janie Crawford really is.
Her decision to leave Logan for Joe Starks shows her determination to achieve her dream of love; she does not want to give and take this dream for stability. Logan is extremely ignorant of Janie′s feelings. When she tries to talk with him about them he simply replies: "′Ah′m getting′ sleepy Janie. Let′s don′t talk no mo′.′" (Hurston,30) He does not realize that Janie is serious about leaving him and that she wants him to show his feelings for her. Instead, he tries to hurt her like she hurt him, by pretending not to be worried about her leaving him. Janie gets to know Joe during her marriage with Logan. Right from the beginning he treats her like a lady. This is one reason why Janie is so attracted to him.
Joe Starks is an admirable person. He promises Janie beautiful material things and happiness unlike Logan who only tried to control her and offered her no love. Janie is overwhelmed by this proposal and believes that Joe may be the bee that has come to fertilize her and make her happy, but she is proven wrong. After she runs away from Logan, Joe and Janie travel to a new town that is only occupied by African Americans. There, Joe becomes mayor and is well respected by all. He gains wealth and gives Janie the material things that he promised her, but forces her to work in his local store all day long. He does not allow her to attend parties or have any fun and makes negative comments about her constantly. He says,
Joe Starks is a “quick-thinking, fast-talking, ambitious man, headed for a newly founded all black community, where he plans to make a fortune” (Rosenblatt 30). Jody offers up a new start to Janie and she leaps at the opportunity of marrying him, “committing bigamy” (Rosenblatt 30). Jody becomes the mayor of Eatonville and provides Janie with a middle-class furnished house that does not provide her “with the felicity and self-fulfillment that she needs” (Ha 33). Janie is treated no more or less than that of the mayor’s wife.
';(pg. 40-41). Joe publicly humiliates Janie constantly saying she is as low as mules. Joe feels that his marriage is a part of his image, a part of his job. He does not marry her for love.
Janie’s relationship with her second husband, Joe Starks, is perhaps the most damaging. In the beginning of their marriage, Janie is proud and admiring of the successful, strong man she marries and runs off with. At first, it seems as though Janie has executed a successful breakaway from her unfulfilling life with Logan Killicks, and transitioned to an exciting, happy life with Joe Starks. Unfortunately, Janie and Joe’s marriage retracts from the infatuated love it once was, into a
When Joe “Jody” Starks appears out of nowhere, Janie feels like her dreams have finally come true. But after a while, the marriage turns out to be little more than the stint with Killicks. Starks, like Killicks, treats her as property and not as someone he actually loves. One example is how Jody makes Janie put her hair up in a wrap while working in the store, rather than leave it down. Another is when he publicly criticizes her appearance, saying she is starting to show her age, when he is clearly at least ten years older: “’ You ain’t no young courtin’ gal. You’se uh old woman, nearly fourty’” (Hurston 79). Joe feels the need to tear down Janie, in order to make himself feel more important, which was an important part of being a man during this time.
Janie leaves Logan to be with Joe Starks who was waiting for her. On the train ride to town, the narrator says, “he bought her the best things the butcher had” (Hurston 35). Joe is more concerned about money and power. Janie feels that he’s giving her gifts, but it’s more that he’s showing off his money. Janie is the wife of the mayor and it
Joe Starks, though widely disliked for obvious personality flaws, was key to Janie's development in that he acted as a parental figure. Due to differing desires and expectations, the couple encountered conflict, which ultimately was left unresolved at the time of Joe's death. From this, Janie learned that she can never be happy if she chooses to settle. By applying this lesson to her relationship with Tea Cake, she is able to reflect on her life happily and be at