Janie's Character In Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The protagonist in Their Eyes Were Watching God is Janie Crawford. Janie has several romantic relationships during her life. She is treated differently by the men she marries because her husbands have unique personalities. Her self-confidence grows during her life and her last two husbands, Joe Stark and Tea Cup, have very different impacts on that growth. She gains insights about herself from both of these men. Janie began relationships with each husband because of the promise of change. She abandoned her first husband to run away with Joe Starks. He was enthusiastic and energetic compared to her husband (Tasharofi 122). Janie knew Joe did not represent her romantic idea of love with the sun shining and bees pollinating trees. She …show more content…
One night Joe “slapped Janie until she had a ringing sound in her ears….” because the supper did not turn out the way he liked (Hurston 84). Janie knows then that Joe is not her hero. When Joe says, "'Somebody got to think for women and chillun and chickens and cows. I god, they sho don't think none theirselves” she knows he has a poor opinion of her and of all women (Hurston 83).
Janie tries to stay quiet but one day he makes fun of her in the store for cutting tobacco wrong. They get into public argument on the porch of the store. Janie gets angry and berates him. She makes fun of his manhood and Joe becomes very angry (Hurston 94). After Janie made those comments, “he struck Janie with all his might and drove her from the store” and she felt humiliated in front of the townspeople (Hurston 95).
When Janie is married to Tea Cake she becomes jealous of Tea Cake and strikes him during an argument (Huston 165). Tea Cake wants to show Janie who is boss, “Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behavior justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss” because he was jealous of her (Hurston
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Joe’s health declines and he does not let Janie come into his bedroom to take care of him. She goes in the room anyway and berates him again. She tells him he is not the man she ran off with and he had never known her or understood her. He gets very angry again and tells her he wishes the thunder and lightning would kill her (Hurston 102). Joe dies from kidney failure but Janie’s harsh words contributed to his death (Tasharofi 124).
Janie’s marriage to Tea Cake also ends because of his death. During a hurricane, Tea Cake is bit by a rabid dog. He became sick some weeks later and thinks Janie is trying to leave him to meet other men. Tea Cake has a gun and Janie gets a gun and shoots Tea Cake in self-defense. After Tea Cake’s death, Janie held onto him and thanked him for loving (NEA Big Read). Janie goes on trial for killing Tea Cake but is found not guilty. She then returns to her hometown.
There were stark differences between Janie’s last two husbands but she learned more about herself from both men. She was submissive to Joe but on equal footing with Tea Cake. Because Tea Cake treated her as an equal, her self-confidence grew during their time together. By the time Janie is alone and returns to her hometown, she has learned who she is and knows herself better. She was grateful to Tea Cake for showing her love and acceptance when they were

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