Janie’s grandmother, Nanny Crawford, was born a slave in Georgia and forced to flee the plantation after her white mistress discovered Nanny was having an affair with her husband. The white mistress threatened to kill her and sell Leafy, her daughter, who would become Janie’s mother.
Nanny’s upbringing as a slave causes her to be overprotective of Janie, as does her advancing age. When she discovers Janie kissing Johnny Taylor as a teenager, Nanny forces Janie to marry Logan Killicks for protection and financial stability, instead of love. Nanny Crawford is aware that she can’t care for Janie for much longer and wants Janie to have a degree of control in her life. Janie comes to her shortly after marrying Logan Killicks and asks Nanny why she hasn’t found love with him yet. Nanny assures her it will come with time, but after Janie leaves, Nanny contemplates her choice. She decides “ah done the best ah could do,” and before passing away, she asks God to take care of Janie.
Janie’s first husband, Logan Killicks, is an older, unassuming black farmer. Nanny forces Janie to marry him in order to secure a house and sixty acres of farmland. He represents security and stability. However, Janie does not love him and thinks he looks like “some ol skullhead in de grave yard.”
After a few years of marriage, Logan feels that he is spoiling Janie, just as Nanny had spoiled her. Logan expects Janie to work and when he suggests buying a mule for her to plow with, he finds that Janie is unresponsive and recalcitrant.
Later, when Janie mentions that she could leave him, the idea pains him, but he chooses to cover his unhappiness with scorn. After an argument in which Janie refuses to do any work for him, Logan becomes upset and insults Janie,...
(The entire section is 469 words.)