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What is the significance of Janie's hair in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by...

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lubsiab14 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2008 at 11:09 AM via web

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What is the significance of Janie's hair in "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 8, 2008 at 12:04 PM (Answer #1)

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Because Janie's hair is beautiful, her second husband Joe Starks makes her keep it wrapped, hoping she will be less attractive to the other men who sit on the porch of the store.  With Joe Janie must hide her real self, being what her husband wishes her to be, presenting a facade to the town from whom she is somewhat alienated because of her position as mayor's wife.

When, at last, Janie is free of Joe Sparks, she goes with Tea Cake and "her soul crawled out from its hiding place."  More self-aware, Janie wears her hair free as a symbol of the freedom of her soul.

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