The female voice and position within a white dominated and patriarchal society in Their Eyes Were...

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The female voice and position within a white dominated and patriarchal society in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Mind Map: The female voice and position within a white dominated and patriarchal society in Their Eyes Were Watching God

1. Joe "slapped Janie until she had a ringing sound in her ears" when he was unhappy with her performance in the kitchen, as she is expected to be, (Hurston, p. 82)

2. "Ah'll have you whipped till de blood run down to yo' heels!" (p. 21)

3. "And if it kills you Ah'll stand de loss." (p.21)

4. Janie finally finds true love with Tea Cake. However, even then he abuses her.

4.1. "Before the week was over he had whipped Janie. Not because her behaviour justified his jealousy, but it relieved that awful fear inside him. Being able to whip her reassured him in possession. No brutal beating at all. He just slapped her around a bit to show he was boss." (Hurston, p.167)

5. "Starks made as if to throw the meat back in the box and close it. Mrs Tony swooped like lightning and seized it, and started towards the door." (Hurston, p.85)

6. "If dat wuz mah wife... Ah'd kill her cemetery dead." (Hurston, p.85)

7. Walter Thomas, a male in the store, reacts:

7.1. Janie speaks up in her defense, but she is told she is "gettin' too moufy" (Hurston,, p.86)

8. When she begs him not to be, he threatens not to give her any at all.

9. Mrs Tony accuses Mr Starks of being stingy with the amount of meat he gives her and claims that she and her children are starving.

10. Janie is born as a result of her own mother's rape. And Leafy, her mother, was born as a result of her grandmother's rape, both by white men who felt they could take what they wanted when they wanted - including women.

10.1. "He had done raped mah baby and run on off just before day" (p.23)

10.2. Both men go free, because these women live in a world dominated by white male privilege.

10.2.1. "de white man is de ruler of everything." (Hurston, p.17)

11. She is so determined in making Janie marry Logan that she reacts violently.



13.1. She "slapped the girl's face violently, and forced her head back so that their eyes met in a struggle." (Hurston, p.17)

13.1.1. Nanny attempts to strip Janie of her freedom by voice, despite vocalising her desire not to marry. "Me, married? Naw, Nanny, no m'am!" (Hurston, p.15)

14. RACE

14.1. Janie, was raised by a white family, resulting in her having a rather warped image of herself. She doesn't know who she is until pointed out in a photograph for the first time.

14.2. "Ah couldn't recognize dat dark chile as me. So Ah ast, "where is me? Ah don't see me." (Hurston, p. 12)

14.2.1. Her family have hidden her from who she in an important stage of her life - childhood is crucial in the development of the young girl's mind, and yet she feels cheated in not knowing who she really is. An erasure of her race, identity, and consequently, her individual voice.


15.1. The narrative of where she came from, which is a crucial part of her identity, is even controlled.

15.1.1. When referring to stories of her own mother and father on page 12, she talks of how other kids would often at times control the conversation "Dey made it sound real bad so as tuh crumple mah feathers" (Hurston, p.12)


16.1. Nanny expects Janie to be a legitimate wife and marry as soon as she can for protection.

16.1.1. "Ah wants to see you married right away." (Hurston, p. 15)

17. RAPE


18.1. When Janie returns home, Nanny assumes Logan has already caused her harm.

18.1.1. "You and Logan been fussin'? Lawd, Ah know dat grass-gut, liver-lipted nigger ain't done took and beat mah baby already!"(Hurston, p. 26)

18.2. When Janie insults her husband Joe in front of the town, he attacks her.

18.2.1. "he struck Janie with all his might and drove her from the store." (Hurston, p. 91) even in self defense, she is forced to be silent.


19.1. The wife of Nanny's slave owner has the power to have her killed after discovering that Nanny has given birth to her husband's child. She has more control than Nanny because of her race and status.

19.1.1. "She begin tuh slap mah jaws ever which a'way." (Hurston, p.20)


20.1. • Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Virago Press. 2018.