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Hajir Sailors

AP English
Summer Reading Log

Their Eyes Were Watching God-Chapter 9

The first line of this chapter causes the reader to pause and consider what Neale-
Hurston is trying to get across, “Joe’s funeral was the finest thing Orange County had
ever seen with Negro eyes.” (Neale-Hurston, 88) Whether this means that it was rich and
extravagant or it was relieving is what you have to wonder for the whole chapter. The
song that is played, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” could refer to the people of Eatonville or
could refer to the death of Joe. While Joe had done a lot for Orange County he had also
been a strict ruler and the line that the first paragraph ends with shows his thirst for this
power, “The little emperor of the cross-roads was leaving Orange county as he had come-
with the out-stretched hand of power.” (88) The first paragraph leaves the readers asking
themselves, “What is Hurston’s meaning in this chapter”?
The next line gives a surprise answer. On the outside there is death, but inside of
Janie is a resurrection of life and the greatness that comes with life. She has a new life
set ahead of her. She is no longer weighed down by the burden of her husband. A
symbol of this occurs on the next page, “Before she slept that night she burnt up every
one of her head rags and went about the house next morning with her hair in one thick
braid swinging well below her waist.” (89) This is the first bit of freedom that Janie has
had for a while and for once Janie has a life ahead of her where she doesn’t feel the need
to be married, yet another time in the book where Janie has become a “real woman”.
Janie had quite an onslaught of men who were interested in her. They claimed
that they wanted to help her out because she was widowed, but she knew that the men
were out to get her for her looks and money. Janie of course did not accept any of these
men because she had experienced enough with Logan and Joey, she was not up for any
more problematic situations that once had “love” and in the end turned out to be a quick
way to win someone over.
Janie had to continue on running the businesses as they were running before, but
she had a harder time. Luckily she had a worker by the name of Hezekiah who reminded
her very much of her deceased husband. He treated the customers just the same and he
made the money just fine. She kept him and prayed he would never turn out like his
father. Then she tells Phoeby that she’s not worried about Joe’s death because the
greatest thing that has ever been seen in Orange County about. Janie Starks has her
freedom.