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Janie Crawford's life is a spiritual journey, "a journey to the horizon and back" as "'a delegate to de big 'ssociation of life ... De Grand Lodge, de big convention of livin.'" Since she has been the wife and lover of three men, two of whom were abusive, Janie certainly could qualify to work in a woman's shelter as an advocate for feminine identity and independence.
In composing a letter of recommendation for Janie, the writer would state that Janie Mae Crawford has much personal experience to draw from, citing her repression first by her grandmother, who coerced her into marrying an older man, Logan Killicks. With Killicks, Janie lacked the "sweet things" in this marriage and she refused to be exploited. When, for instance, Logan asked her to chop wood, she refused. Not wishing to be a mule for her husband, Janie left him for Joe Starks; however, she again encountered a domineering husband in Joe although he promised to let her live as she should. For Joe was possessive of her, having seen the admiration of the men she stirred. His chauvanistic, harsh and repressive ways were evident in all he did and said. For instance, when Joe is elected mayor, he tells her that she cannot attend certain functions. and she must conform to the town's expectations of her, keeping her luxurious hair hidden and acting appropriately. After twenty years, Janie finally spoke up, and she told Joe of his oppression,
"Mah own mind had tuh be squeezed and crowded out tuh make room for yours in me."
Whereas Janie lived between "her hat and her heels,"she felt that after she leaves with Tea-Cup, "her soul crawled out from its hiding place." Together they worked and suffered, and loved. Unfortunately, Janie's story of men ended with the death of Tea-Cup who contracted madness from an injured dog. After this action, Janie returned to her home as a self-sufficient woman at peace with herself.
Upon her return to Eatonville, Janie has appeared as a woman who possesses the longing of many: self-revelation. This she can share with those not as strong as she. For, Janie Crawford is, as poet Robert Frost wrote, "One acquained with the night." She has had many experiences that provide her with a sympathetic heart and a voice that will be heard. "Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by comparisons." Janie Crawford would make an excellent counselor and role-model.
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