In what ways does the narrator (Janie) appear sypathatic towards the people and events in Their Eyes Were Watching God?

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copelmat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The scenes that reveal Janie's sympathetic nature the most are the ones that involve her interaction with many of the minor characters and minor events of the novel.

Unlike many of the residents of Eatonville, Janie is not ever-watchful for the slightest weakness in others or the smallest piece of gossip which she can twist and manipulate to her own advantage. In fact, she does just the opposite; Janie talks and takes action to comfort those in need. Perhaps the greatest example of this is the situation involving Matt Bonner's yellow mule. Although most of the town ridicules both Matt Bonner and the mule, it is Janie--through Joe--who strives to make matters right.

Similar examples also include Janie's reactions to the racist beliefs of Mrs. Turner, her attitude toward the Bahamian workers in the Everglades, and her reflections on the experiences and story of Mrs. Tyler and Who Flung.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Surprisingly, Janie appears as sympathetic towards most of the people and events in the novel, particularly after she marries Jody Starks.  When Janie first meets Joe, he appears to her as a carefree spirit and she thinks that he will show her a better life than Logan does.  Janie runs off with Joe, but soon he begins treating her poorly.  After Joe becomes mayor, his treatment of Janie gets even worse.  However, Janie seems to want to understand why Joe treats her this way, and she often makes excuses for his behavior.  Even after she realizes that Joe is not being fair to her, she never harbors any ill feelings towards him, and after his death, she is able to move on to the next stage in her life.  So Janie's trying to understand the motivations behind people's behaviors makes her appear sympathetic towards characters in the story.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God

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