Notes on Their Eyes Were Watching God Themes

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Their Eyes Were Watching God Topic Tracking: Voice

Chapter 2

Voice 1: Janie's grandmother was born during slavery. Black people, and especially women, could not voice their opinions. Nanny always wanted to make a great speech, but no one would listen. She wants Janie to be able to speak and have people listen.

Chapter 5

Voice 2: The town of Eatonville asks Janie to make a speech, after Joe has just been elected mayor, but Joe cuts in and says that she doesn't know anything about making speeches. He does not give her the chance to speak.

Chapter 6

Voice 3: Joe does not allow Janie to talk with the people of the town about Matt Bonner's mule. Sometimes, Janie had good stories to tell, but Joe forbids it because he doesn't want her associating with trashy people.

Voice 4: Joe frequently insults Janie. She learns to keep her mouth shut and doesn't fight back.

Chapter 7

Voice 5: As her marriage to Joe worsens, Janie speaks less and less.

Chapter 11

Voice 6: Tea Cake and Janie argue over whether or not he really wants to take her to the picnic. He tells her to have the nerve to say what she means. As opposed to Joe Starks, Tea Cake wants Janie to speak her mind.

Chapter 14

Voice 7: In the Everglades, Janie reflects on life in Eatonville. She realizes that in the Everglades, she feels like she can contribute to the stories people tell. She has a voice there.

Chapter 20

Voice 8: The fact that Janie tells this entire story to Pheoby suggests that she has gained a voice throughout the progression of the book and her life as well.

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