In the book Their Eyes Were Watching God, why did Jody buy Matt's mule?

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hannahshychuk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is impossible to say why exactly Jody purchases Matt's mule, as that information is never presented to us, but there are two theories which seem to make the most sense. It is possible that Jody buys the mule out of compassion, as he knows that it is overworked and abused by its owner. If this is Jody's reasoning, it could serve as proof that there is in fact some goodness in him, despite his treatment of Janie. On the other hand, readers know that Jody exhibits very domineering tendencies toward Janie. Since he knows that buying the mule would impress her, his purchase may be nothing more than another way to control her.

jessiestone | Student

Jody buys Matt's mule after Janie shows concern about how it is being treated. An unusual show of compassionate given how his character has begun to change. It also could be Jody's opportunity to show the townspeople that nothing was beyond his grasp - that he could buy anything. Janie said the people should be ashamed of themselves for "teasin dat poor brute beast (53)" and following her comments Jody stopped laughing and yelled out for someone to go get Matt "ah wants to have a talk wid him right away!" Jody later says "Ah bought dat varmint tuh let 'im rest (54)."

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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