This story was written by Ms. Hurston in 1933. During this time she was going through a rough patch with her husband who she later divorced. She had three marriages over all.
One of the reasons she wrote this love story about Joe and Missie Banks was to relate, to the reader, the good things, and the bad, of marriage in general and themes speific to African American couples. The desire to show the reader what is important in a relationship and what is not important is very clear in this story.
As a black woman Hurston was very familiar with the power of man of the house and him being the bread winner. It was common during this era that the man supported his wife and brought home the money, while the wife, in turn, furnished him with a clean house, meals, children, and sex.
Ms. Hurston was also trying to give the reader an intimatelook into the African American culture as husband and wife. the theme of not only love but also forgiveness. We see this theme when Joe catches Missie being unfaithful to him with Mr. Slemmons and yet he forgives her.
This story is result of her bad marriages and her study in anthropology. She was not only trying to write an entertaining story, but she was also trying to teach the reader what should be important in a marriage.