In Their Eyes Were Watching God, how does Joe think Janie should dress?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having been so unhappy in her marriage with old Logan Killicks, Janie runs off with Joe Starks, who becomes successful enough to be elected mayor of Eatonville. When he is installed as mayor, one of the citizens of the black town asks for a few words from "Mrs. Mayor Starks"; however, Joe refuses to let Janie talk, saying

"Ah never married her for nothin' lak dat. She's un woman and her place is in de home."

This remark clearly sets the tone for their marriage as Janie is to be his wife first of all.  Joe has her run his store, which is a stressful job for Janie as she must wait on people and keep the books simultaneously. Also, she is forbidden to engage in the tall-tales of others.

In Chapter 6, the dominance and possessiveness of Joe Starks becomes pronounced.  She becomes a "pretty doll-baby," in pretty dresses that are not seductive, and because he has observed men surreptitiously looking and brushing against Janie's luxurious hair, he forces her to keep it covered. 

This business of the head-rag irked her endlessly. But Jody was set on it.  Her hair was NOT going to show in the store.

Once again, Janie's identity is shadowed by the man to whom she is married.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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