How does Jody's character begin to establish Hurston's theme of male dominance and aggression in Their Eyes Were Watching God?Contrast this with Janie's first husband, Killicks.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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At first, it seems like Joe is exactly what Janie has been waiting for. He rescues her from Logan & takes her to Eatonville, where he can succeed in a way impossible in other towns. Although Janie is reluctant to go, Jody sweetalks her, offering a chance for adventure. But this dream turns sour soon. When Jody becomes mayor, Janie becomes a "pretty doll-baby," a token of his stature in the town. Jody defines himself by his position and possessions, and the most valuable of those is Janie. So Jody silences Janie's development and keeps her from participating in the town's talk on the porch of their store. Jody's world becomes a kind of prison for Janie, who realizes that her "image" of him has "tumbled down and shattered." The final straw comes when he ridicules her body in public, and she tells him, "When you pull down yo' britches, you look lak de change uh life." Standing up for herself becomes the breaking poit for him, as he quickly deteriorates after this incident. But Janie realizes that all he's given her is money-there's been no real change internally.

Janie's first husband turns out to be the opposite of what she expected from love and marriage. Forced to marry him by her grandmother because he can give her a house and sixty acres of farmland, Janie finds none of the awakening and vitality that she experienced from her first kiss. Instead, his ugly appearance and body odor repulse her and lead her to believe that although her grandmother wants security, she wants to live her life freely. When Logan tells her he is going to buy a mule for her to plow with, Janie decides that life with him is not what she bargained for. She leaves him when Joe Starks comes along. However, he's not overtly cruel; he just considers Janie another hand to work, and tends to ignore her.

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